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Read Joe College (2006)

Joe College (2006)

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3.35 of 5 Votes: 4
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0312361785 (ISBN13: 9780312361785)
st. martin's griffin

Joe College (2006) - Plot & Excerpts

Very good snap shot of life in college... and life in the 80's. Excellent smooth and quick writing style, but nothing penned Election, a great novel of high-school manners, Tom Perrotta gives us Joe College, a great novel about college mores. In 1982, one Yale junior struggles with George Eliot, dorm blanket bingo, dining-hall dish-line duty, a massive crush on a girl in love with his favorite prof, daily cards and calls from a girl back home in New Jersey, and a lush profusion of authentically individual yet instantly recognizable undergrad eccentrics. After an evening of ritualistic bong hits, kimchee feasting, and sympathetic discussion of Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who shot President McKinley, Danny thinks of his parents: "Was this what they scrimped and sacrificed for all those years? So their son could spend his Tuesday nights drinking beer, smoking dope, eating weird food, and learning to see the assassin's side of the story?"Yup, that's the way it was, and Perrotta's immense strength is to give moment-by-moment immediacy to his hero's tortuous internal monologue. Instead of dumping his Jersey girl, Danny figures, "if I avoided her long enough, she'd get tired of waiting and supply my half of the conversation on her own, thereby sparing me the unpleasantness of having to be the bad guy." Yet he is also capable of heroism, as when he impulsively defies no-neck Mafiosi who menace his dad's "Roach Coach" lunch truck, which Danny drives to blue-collar work sites during school breaks. What gives the story structure is the collision in our hero's soul between his former life and the world of towers, moats, and upward mobility. He can't quite identify with his hometown reverence for Bruce Springsteen, but it rubs him wrong to see Springsteen LPs played "for the enjoyment of people who were going to end up being the bosses of the people the Boss was singing about. Nobody in Entryway C was born to run."Election may have a better plot, but Joe College scoots along like a waterskeeter on a marvelous stream of consciousness. Tom Perrotta was born to write. --Tim Appelo

This is the same guy that wrote Little Children, and Election, which is probably more famous as a movie. Anyway, according to the author this novel is based on his own college experiences in the early 80s. We've got a kid from a working class background in New Jersey who is at Yale on a scholarship, casually dating a girl from back home whom he doesn't really want to be dating, and hopelessly pursing another classmate who really isn't available. Also, a cast of wacky roommates. I had mixed responses to this book -- on the plus side, it's very readable and the characters are extremely recognizable -- I think I went to college with most of them myself -- and I think the author was very successful with showing some of the tensions related to that kid who is breaking ground by going off to a prestigious college. However, parts of the book also got into that over-the-top satire that goes over my head, and I get the feeling that this is an example of that thing where otherwise thoughtful people look back at their own college experiences and they get so caught up in their own emotional memories that they can't quite take a step back and figure out which parts are more universally meaningful. I personally have some memories of college that I fondly remember as OMG that was SO funny and SO wild ... but then I also realize that I remember it that way because it happened to ME and other people don't have any reason to find it funny, wild, or even all that interesting. This book feels a little too autobiographical to me, like that guy at the party who is convinced his college stories are much more hilarious than yours, and completely misses the point that EVERYONE feels that way about stuff that happened to them.Grade: B-Recommended: To people who like higher ed in fiction, probably especially anyone who went to Yale or a similar college.

What do You think about Joe College (2006)?

I like the way Perrotta writes--his word choices, his analogies, his detailed descriptions, his perceptive wit. While I enjoyed reading Joe College, I felt that the main character Danny was unlikeable and selfish through parts of the book, especially when dealing with Cindy, his summer "townie" fling. Perhaps this was the intention, to paint Danny as book-smart but relationship-dumb, and despite his flaws, you can't really blame the kid for his missteps. Matt is Danny's co-worker at the college cafeteria and supposed friend, but I just couldn't understand why Danny kept the annoying guy around. I wanted to kick his ass a few times myself. But that's Perrotta's genius, he transports you to a world that is stunningly real--an authentic college experience--a young man navigating through a maze of schoolwork, strange Yale traditions, eccentric hangers-on, girls and running his father's food truck business [into the ground].(I had thought there would be more cooking in this book, but the food truck just dispenses factory-made sandwiches, coffee and candy bars. Not a foodie book.) The publisher gets bad points for multiple typos in the e-version for Nook--misspellings, solo parentheses, page numbers embedded in the text. No fault of Tom Perrotta, of course, just the publisher's lack of proofreading skills. These errors can be distracting, and it's not the first e-book to have this issue.

Since most reviewers already give a brief summary of the book, I will skip that and get right to my review.I love this book!!! I found it on the bargain shelf at Borders a few years ago and took a chance on it. What a fun story and hilarious cast of characters. I have since read every book written by Mr. Perrotta and will continue to do so. None of the others have quite made the same impression on me as Joe College but (for me) the emotion of not knowing what to expect and then to be completely, pleasantly surprised does not come around often. I found it to be a real gem. I thought it was much better than Perrotta's "Bad Haircut" or The Wishbones".

I liked this book though it was not as good as his Little Children book, it was definitely better than his Abstinence Teacher book. So, I give this book 3 stars. It is about an Ivy Leaguer trying to juggle women and his hometown job at the same time. I can relate with Danny's predicament that people were having more fun than him. Especially, his thinking while studying that people were having more sex than him and that her oscillates b/w self-pity and arousal both states not conducive to studyin

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