mark's Reviews > Wonder Boys

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
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's review
Jan 06, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: men-s-fiction, really-bad-books, relationships
Recommended for: cynics

** spoiler alert ** Wonder Boys
Over Christmas I met a woman named Storm. When she found out I was a writer she became excited and inquisitive. Her therapist, she said, told her she should "reinvent" herself so she signed up for a five-day writer's workshop. She asked me all sorts of questions and I answered truthfully. I told her writing was a great way to find out who you are, and also, a great way to express yourself.

Now I come home and find this book "Wonder Boys" on my bookshelf and it's calling out to me" "Read me!" This novel angered me. I felt it was dishonest and made a mockery of fiction writers and the craft of writing. It is the story of a creative writing professor who can't finish his epic novel. The "Wonder Boys" is a novel about writing the Wonder Boys, and takes place over the course of two days in which the protagonist is constantly stoned and/or drunk as he manages to fuckup his entire life (but comes out living happily ever after): He survives his wife leaving him; has his novel rejected by his editor and 20yr old beautiful female student; loses the manuscrpit; gets bit by a dog; is an accessory to several crimes, gets skulled with a baseball bat; gets fired; and has the self-discovery that he is a fraud. After these events, the baseball-bat-wheeling man's wife (who the hero has gotten pregnant) decides to marry him, support him, and get him a new job.

How's that for reality? Ironic because a point the author, Michael Chabon, makes is that fiction should reveal truths. I agree with that. If the life of writers is like what Chabon depicts ... well, no wonder the world is so fucked up. This is presented as a comedy. (It was made into a movie.) I didn't laugh once in reading it. I didn't cry once. I found myself only getting aggitated by its stupidity. The author makes a point of being critical of the protagonist's novel because it goes off point and rambles on and on with irrelevant discriptions. I often skipped pages of this novel for that very thing. The same can be said for the characters ... I didn't identify, or like, any of them. There was not a scene in the novel that I felt was authentic.

How's this for humor: The editor/publisher is the protagonist's best friend, and gay. He is on the backside of forty. He takes a twenty year old, suicidal, male student (who is the child of his grandfather, who raped his mother) and drugs him; and then uses him for sexual gratification. Then he rewards him by publishing HIS iffy novel and dumps the protagonist's.

One reviewer said that this novel was about "... the only things that really matter." I guess what matters is getting published and laid; and that it does NOT matter how one gets to that end, or who gets hurt in the process.
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Reading Progress

January 6, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 13, 2008 – Finished Reading
May 29, 2009 – Shelved as: men-s-fiction
May 29, 2009 – Shelved as: really-bad-books
May 29, 2009 – Shelved as: relationships

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Murray (new)

Murray Moulding Great book, Mark. This guy can do anything. Good movie, too.

message 2: by mark (new) - rated it 1 star

mark I'm about halfway, it's still the first night. Not a pretty picture of the academic writer crowd. I picked up the "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" over xmas and couldn't get very far. thought the writing was poor. Then got home and found this on my bookshelf. Middle-age white guy Lit. vis-a-via Chick Lit. But, i'll finish this one - it's entertaining. People here say the movie is better than the book.

Maddymac Uh.... You may not know the term "dark comedy." You might look it up.

Maggie This is Chabon's second novel. It is about the impossibility of writing a second novel after a well-regarded first novel.

Maackii I am a cynic and I loved and laughed through the entire book. Thanks for the helpful review.

Stephen Roberts Actually it is a second novel about a writer who can't finish his fourth novel. Brilliant.

message 7: by AF (new) - rated it 1 star

AF Your review is perfect. I couldn't stand this book.

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