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Dear Catastrophe Waitress

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Mark thinks he has found The One in college. When Raquel abruptly takes off for Los Angeles to become a rock star, Mark tries to be happy for her–until ROCK-L’s first single sweeps the airwaves–a song about Mark’s stamina entitled “Two Minute Man.” And Mark’s life is never the same again.

Philippa doesn’t really think twice about cheating on her punk rocker boyfriend, Trevo
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Villard (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  253 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Jules Vilmur
Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Ten minutes ago, I am sitting out on my porch weeping like a baby and crushing this book to my chest, and then I come inside and read some chick's scathing review, and suddenly, I can't think to write all the things I wanted to write a moment ago, becaase my head is full of arguments against each of the arguments she made for hating it.

And I have to take a bit to collect myself before I can come back to the computer all collected-like and say that I don't care if it means that I'm some unculture
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Dear Catastrophe Waitress" is exactly the type of book I have been looking for! Not only did I have trouble putting it down, but it is about characters in their 20's! YAY! Maybe I just haven't been searching hard enough, but I have been having a difficult time finding books with characters in their 20s.

Here are some real reasons to read the book. I loved the two main characters. Yes they had their problems, but they were realistic. It's the story of two people just trying to find their way in
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book - it was entertaining, funny, sad, everything a good book should be. Unputdownable. I especially loved the author's trick of letting you know what external "characters" were thinking - CVS clerks, waiters, etc. - versus what the characters were sure they were thinking. Only one quibble, and it's probably my fault for reading so fast - sometimes I felt like there wasn't a clear delineation of how much time just went by, and I would be surprised by how old the characte ...more
Matthew Lawrence
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
It took me forever to read this, even though it's a pretty quick read. Twenty years go by pretty quickly in the first half and then the second half is very slow-moving... I'll be posting about it on my blog soon. (Today even, maybe.) It's very Run Lola Run meets Nick Hornby, but more wholesome than that. It's worth checking out, and much better than I thought it would be when I picked it up at the library based only on the title--my least favorite Belle and Sebastian song. ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
At first I was thrown by the writing style. It's a bit whimsical, telling us things about people we never hear more than a sentence about, but it grew on me. I thought the story was really really great and original. The metamorphosis of both characters was tremendous and yet still real. I quite liked this book. ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it did not like it
Man, what is up with novels about music and where are the good ones -- other than High Fidelity? Even Lethem can't do it. This book, like all of the books I can think of who try to capture musicians / a music scene, felt flat and cliched. Sigh. ...more
Dec 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
This book is amateurly written and was too predictable for me. I'd recommend High Fidelity or The Art of Mix Tapes. ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
Phillipa is crazy and Mark is a pussy, but I liked the book.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
One of those men who should not be writing the perspective of women.
Jeff Raymond
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Closer to a 4.5. A very Hornby-esque ride, which took the taste of the latest Hornby book out of my mouth. This made me laugh out loud a few times, as well, which is rare.

A very fun read.
Abigail Hillinger
Apr 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Unless you want predictable drivel...
Shelves: fiction, blech
Okay. I came thisclose to posting on amazon.com about how terrible this book was, but I decided against it. The writer's karma and all.

But I can't restrain myself. This book was a waste of my money. It had a unique concept behind it: two characters, Mark and Phillippa, were both spurned by their lovers writing hit singles about them. Mark was dubbed "Two Minute Man" by his girlfriend Raquel (ROCK-L in the music world) and Phillippa's loser punk boyfriend wrote an angry song called "Phillippa Ch
B. Hale
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2009
Oh, how I ended up loving this book! It's totally a 5-star read because it felt so real and brought out such emotion in me. I ended up crying and it just got me thinking about my own identity and my relationship with my mom in particular. But really it's just an interesting story about time and how people change and hopefully learn from their mistakes and experiences.

I decided to read this without really knowing much about the book except that I'm Goodreads friends with the author... so I wasn't
Sandy D.
Very adult novel by an author whose teen books I love. It's hard for me to review this, partially because there is so much going on in the story, and partially because I now know the author reads these reviews. I did really enjoy it, though the characters (especially Philippa) annoyed me sometimes. I found myself thinking about them a lot after the book ended, which is the mark of a really good book (for me, anyway).

It's told in alternating male/female viewpoints (like some of Halpin's other boo
Rachel Pollock
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Things i loved about this book: the plot hook, the entire first half, the structural concept, the narrative voice in the first half, the parenthetical asides in the first half expressing the interiority of supernumerary characters, the fluidity of the timeline in the first half...see a pattern? It almost felt like someone else wrote the second half of the book, because a lot of what i loved about the writing in the first half disappeared and the voice became a lot more rote and repetitive.

Michelle Sallay
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, even though it is not a book I see myself wanting to read again. I also don't really see that many people other than myself liking it. I don't know why, but maybe it is because I felt like the book was speaking a language that only I understood. It is very detailed and delves deeply into each main characters romantic past. I think many readers would find the extra details tedious because they want the main characters to meet already and get on with the story. But I think t ...more
May 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like quirky realistic fiction
Shelves: fiction, 2009-list
This is a five star book for me because I could not stop reading it this weekend! I read it during my lunch break at work and then continued reading it after dinner until nearly 11, that in and of itself is unusual for me! After reading two other titles by this author, Forever Changes and How Ya Like Me Now, which are both geared for young adults, I wanted to read another so I chose the one we had in the building which is a novel for adults. There was a point during the novel where the plot turn ...more
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Because I am a high school librarian, I mainly read YA novels. Every once in a while, I will venture into the world of adult fiction - usually at the insistence of my husband whose reading suggestions have never let me down. This book was WONDERFUL! Funny, sexy, heartbreaking - all the elements I appreciate in my summer time reading selections. At a YA Lit Conference, I heard about a book titled Audrey, Wait! This book came out a year after Halpin's and has the same central plot point. I am curi ...more
Amy J
Aug 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like nick horby's books
this book title takes its namesake from a belle and sebastian song which is the first thing that made me want to read it. i found myself relating to this book a little more than most probably would because the book involves some pop culture references and one of the main characters is a teacher. a teacher who sings funny songs no less. it's quick read so i finished it in a day. it's fairly predictable but i still found myself cheering for the two main characters in the end. ...more
Molly Felth
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is relaxing and engaging. It's comfy but NOT frothy. I loved the character of Philippa and the author's ability to express her rather dark life from a lighthearted angle. It's nice. That's the point-- it's not supposed to be mean or grim. It's a good friend of a book. Again, very Hornby-eqsue. ...more
Dec 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sara by: Sarah
Shelves: 2008
I love the first half of this book. It's so well written and the stories are great. I related to both of the characters. But something happens in the second half that let me down. the writing changes and I lose interest in the characters. ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Perfectly fun book, chick-lit for guys. I have absolutely no reason to recommend it to anyone, but I wouldn't steer anyone away, either. I enjoyed the narrative voice a lot, and the dialogue snaps happily away. But it's not gonna make you any brighter. ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, own-it
It's a rom-com but a book! It's predictable and ridiculous while still being totally enjoyable. The second half is ideal for anyone who was super into the Max Medina/Lorelai Gilmore story line on Gilmore Girls. ...more
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read in a long time that made me wish it was even longer. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters. ...more
MaryAnn Hopping
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
A fun quick read. The ending is fully obvious but it was a good light read, especially after a really dark distrubing book.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Fun quick read, the male character is more well-done than the female. Cute but not realistic.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
a fun easy read in which i identified with the main characters struggle to accept her past mistakes + love herself fully: past present + future. great dialog that kept me laughing.
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
A little heavier than I thought it would be, but a interesting story line actually. Has some hysterical parts, and some really sad ones.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sadie by: My hubbie, Andy
I loved this book. Many writers can create realistic situations within the context of their writing, but I felt that
Halpin did an excellent job creating real characters- a much harder task.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Kind of a trashy read--enjoyable but somewhat forgettable.
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wilco? 2 18 Jan 11, 2008 01:49PM  

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I grew up in Cincinnati, went to college in Philadelphia, and also lived in Taipei and Edinburgh along the way. I've lived in Boston since 1991.

I became a professional writer in 2000, writing about my late wife Kirsten's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Kirsten died in 2003, leaving me and our daughter Rowen. I married Suzanne in 2005 and got her kids Casey and Kylie in the deal too. Bargain

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