Unlike the last novel I reviewed, I was done with The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper in one week. Perfect for a light summer read, Tropper takes his readers back and forth between present time and the characters’ high school years. Something we can all relate to!
Protagonist, Joe Goffman, is forced to return to his hometown after remaining absent for fifteen years. While gone, he writes a novel about Bush Falls, Connecticut, his childhood neighborhood, and makes a lot of people uncomfortable and furious. Not only was the book a national bestseller, but was also made into a blockbuster movie! Family and friends felt betrayed by Goffman’s portrayal of them as homophobes, angry about him sharing embarrassing intimate stories, and his clear distate towards the Cougars-the town’s beloved and fantastic basketball team-the ultimate low blow.
Goffman has to finally face the small town, his brother, and an ex-girlfriend because his father sits in critical condition after suffering a stroke. The Book of Joe is very funny and at times a very painful novel to read about past mistakes committed during a very egocentric time in Goffman’s life. His efforts to try to patch things up with his family (and at least explain himself to others), seem to go unnoticed. I concluded, no matter what severe circumstances surround all of us, some people do change after high school. Some, you will read, simply do not.
I’m meeting my book club next week to discuss!
image: CR Photography