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Outside Providence

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Outside Providence is a hilarious yet melancholy novel of a young man's coming of age in the 1970s. When Timothy Dunphy, native of working-class Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is packed off to a fancy prep school, he finds that the privileged elite is hardly immune to life's screwups. Dunphy must reconcile his pedigreed schoolmates with his mongrel friends back home--including D ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published October 6th 1998 by Main Street Books (first published April 1st 1988)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  208 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Mar 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Guys age 15-35
Seriously one of my favorite books ever. One of the few books I truly never wanted to end.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: little-rhody
How can you NOT like a book set chiefly in Rhode Island, whose first-person protagonist hails from Pawtucket, is affectionately nicknamed "Dildo", and where all the "bad guys" in the novel either go to Brown or have received scholarships to Brown? (As a Brown alum, I took no offense whatsoever.) Hilarious and scatological - classic Farrelly. Small state; big laughs. ...more
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
read this in one day.
Printable Tire
An interesting deviation from the book to the movie:
The kid's father in the movie (played by Alec Baldwin) gives him advice something along the lines of "making love is like ordering chinese food- you're not done until you both get the fortune cookie."

In the book, the advice the old man gives is, "Life is like a shit sandwich: the more bread you got, the less shit you gotta eat."

I always thought the latter was a great line, and I'm puzzled why they changed it to the mediocre line in the script.
Michael  Malone
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Likeable, if predictable, first novel from the guy who of course went on to make some of the most popular comedy films of the Nineties/Aughts. Shades of Holden Caulfield and multiple protagonists from John Irving's novels in Tim Dunphy, a dirtbag fish-out-of-water at a posh New England boarding school. A slim, quick read with all the crude humor one might hope for from Peter Farrelly. Bonus point if you have spent time in Rhode Island; Dunphy hails from Pawtucket (thus the book's title, a clever ...more
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen the movie a number of times and always loved it. The book is pretty radically different, much darker, but just as funny and, of course, far less Hollywood. Filmmaker books, you usually expect a novelized screenplay, but this was nothing of the sort. Very good, read it in a day. ...more
John Marr
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature, brat-pack
I picked up this one as part of my Brat Pack hate read project, and with all due respect to SPY NOTES, this is no Brat Pack novel! It certainly has the right setting, a dead mother and an appropriate amount of degenerate behavior, but it's completely lacking in the other essential elements of the genre: the incessantly whining protagonist, the mediocre minimalist style, the sense of pervasive pretentiousness.... And he doesn't even blame mommy's suicide!

Guess I'll have to pick up another Janowit
Jeff Guertin
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Having grown up in Rhode Island, I really liked this movie, and it took a while to get my hands on a copy of the book from which the movie was based.

I was a bit surprised to see how different the book is from the movie, and although I think some aspects of the movie are actually better than the book (i.e. the storyline with Jane), overall I thought the book was a nice change from what I was expecting.
Oct 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not funny like his book The Comedy Writer, which was hilarious. This was a coming-of-age story of a "street" teen from Providence who is sent to a private boarding school in CT. The book was OK and an entertaining read but not a great book. Nowhere close to Catcher in the Rye. Maybe I'm just not into coming-of-age stories right now. Read some other reviews. ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, fiction
It wasn't a bad book, it just didn't do anything for me. 3/4 through the book, I thought why am I still reading this. It never really captured my attention. I finished it because it was a short book and I was almost done but I guess I didn't really get the point. I didn't really think it was funny either. Oh well. ...more
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good book from a person you wouldn't expect a good book from. (Farrelly, of the Farrelly brothers team of crap-movie makers)

I haven't seen the movie yet, but it's one of Bruce's favorites.
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Outside providence is an engaging book that shows the struggles of being a teen very well. Although this book is well written to adults and younger kids I doubt it would be as engaging. I would recommend this book to all teens but not adults
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Memoir of a Pawtucket teen's prep school years
in the early seventies, as he tries to forge his own
"Impossible Dream."
Shelbie Kellum
Mar 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
DNF. I had about 50 pages left and I couldn't do it. I didn't find the novel funny or clever or interesting. The characters were flat, the plot was boring, and the humor was poorly executed. ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I came into this book after catching the movie on cable one lazy Sunday afternoon. Honestly, Peter Farrelly's a great story teller and the book is a fast read and funny. ...more
Bookend McGee
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This feels like a draft still, but nevertheless an amazing one. This dude has so much talent.
Tani Walters
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars for this one! I didn’t have particularly high expectations going into this novel and was pleasantly surprised to find it thoughtful, funny and poignant. I liked the characters and the premise.

It is quite crude in parts, which doesn’t bother me but it is something to be aware of ;-)

I was close to giving it 5 stars, but the ending fell ever so slightly flat for me. Very happy to give it a solid 4.5 stars though! :-)
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Short quick read. My sister lived in RI for 11 years and claims that they call it “Pawtucket the Bucket”. A boy from the wrong side of the tracks goes to prep school. A pretty standard story line involving light drug use, drinking, hitch hiking, sex, and surviving high school in the 70s. Did not love or hate this one.
Brent Legault
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
This novel hasn't aged well. What might have seemed irreverent and raw in the late 1980's, seems today (and to me) to be clumsy and crass. Even that would be forgivable if it were less of a bore. ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A kid from a blue-collar family gets sent to a prep school. He experiences the selfish behavior of his more self-centered classmates, and has a forbidden relationship with a student from the girls' school. The plot is a little muddled, but the "coming of age" story feel is good. Knowing the movie before reading the book, I couldn't help but see where they could have simplified some of the story elements to make them more effective. ...more
Meghan Valois
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