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The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper

I have to confess that the original biggest draw to The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper for me was the fact that the main character was returning to his hometown 17 years after his high school graduation in 1986. Since I graduated in 1988, I assumed there would be some fun, nostalgia-type information in the book, which is absolutely true. I especially loved the connection of Bruce Springsteen songs to the story.

After reading the book, I know I would have enjoyed the story, regardless of my age-related connection, since Tropper's writing style is so entertaining. One brief scene between Joe and the mom of his high school best friend Wayne alone makes the book worth reading.

Basic bones of the story: Joe Goffman writes a tell-all book about his hometown of Bush Falls, Connecticut, describing the events of his senior year in high school that becomes a bestseller and a blockbuster movie. Seventeen years after the events of that senior year, and without a single visit home in the interim, Joe is called by his sister-in-law to come back because his father has had a stroke and is in a coma.

Suddenly, with his return to Bush Falls, Joe finds himself facing the people in town and the events of his senior year all over again. We travel along with Joe as he either reconnects, or attempts to, with his brother, his high school sweetheart, Wayne, and others in Bush Falls. Especially important is the bond he forms with his nephew, who is now in high school in Bush Falls and not so very different from Uncle Joe.

Can Joe find his "real self" and form a life more meaningful than his current, lonely existence in Manhattan? He can only try.

I enjoyed this book so much that I bought Tropper's Everything Changes at Barnes & Noble on Saturday. Hope Changes is as well-written and entertaining as The Book of Joe.

My overall personal rating of The Book of Joe is an A.


This book sounds very much like the TV show October Road, I looked and it was not based from this book, but your review has peeked my interest enough that I think I am going to read it.
That's exactly what my friend Keli said when I started to tell her about the book. Then, as I added more details about what happened during the senior year that he wrote the book about, she said, "Oh, no; that's really different." Don't want to give any spoilers, so e-mail me if you want me to tell you more specifics directly. :)

As an aside, my hometown in Iowa is the setting for the same sort of book, Iowa by Patrick Moore.

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Here's the short set of questions I e-mailed to book club members yesterday, along with my own responses.

Did you have a favorite character, or one that spoke to you the most? Who and why?
The father with the burned hands is the one who stayed with me the most after reading the book.

Did you notice that the day on which the events unfold is actually the same day that Diana, Princess of Wales, died? Does knowing that make any difference in how you see the story? I wouldn't have made the connection if I hadn't just watched some of the coverage of the Royal Wedding. To quote the author, he chose this particular day because his novel is about how ". . .everyday miracles of life and death go unwitnessed in favor of celebrity and sensati…

Current Little Pleasures

Girls' weekend in Omaha with Maya and her friend.

Happy Buddha:  Sweet Orange and Cedar Shower Foam from RITUALS

Time for iced or blended peppermint mochas.

Shopping for little gifts for Maya's Japanese pen pal.  They were matched through their schools, and we're hoping she can stay with us for a few days this summer.

The flock of wild turkeys, foxes, and other assorted wildlife entertaining us this fall.

Thanksgiving plans to visit my sister.

Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas is back!

Current Little Pleasures

Christmas Keepsake Week, July 14-23, filled with Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Sending Christmas (in July) cards with a Peace greeting to some of my favorite people.  Why not??

Scott Tube Free Toilet Paper--nothing to recycle.

Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream--always!

Baby Driver movie.

Seeing photos from my sisters and niece on Facebook during their Italy trip.  I can't imagine they will want to come back home!

What are your current little pleasures?