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Read The Wishbones (1999)

The Wishbones (1999)

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3.49 of 5 Votes: 3
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0425169715 (ISBN13: 9780425169711)

The Wishbones (1999) - Plot & Excerpts

So, I started a pretty thorough review of this book, but lost it to the ghosts of the internet. So, I'll do a briefer version. I just don't have the energy to bitch and moan about books any more.Despite the wicked words I'm going to use, I actually enjoyed Perrotta's book. It was a fun, trashy, smooth read, and I'd read it again, if I hadn't read it already. Got it?So, The Wishbones reminds me a bit of a poor man's Nick Hornby novel air dropped in New Jersey. It's so 90s-centric and dated, so funny. The peripheral characters are more realistically wrought than Dave and his cadre of loser friends. Zelack, with his sleazy hairdo and rock star pose, and Dave's parents with their stinky newsprint and meat loaf and green peas are much more real than Dave's teenage problems. Why is Dave afraid of marrying Julie? I understand as a man, but not as a reader. Stan, with his marital problems, is more of human figure than any other in the whole book.Perrotta starts to really hit his stride when Dave meets Gretchen. The four smokers, in costume, sitting on a chintzy balcony over the fumes of a dumpster and the hush of the parkway bring me into Jersey (though I'm there every single day) more than anything else in the novel. I laughed at the flat description of a 90s Park Slope and Lower East Side - mostly just because I'm glad all that grunge, self-important nonsense is over with.Perrotta doesn't convince me that he has a solid enough feeling of music to write about musicians. His choices for detail are fraught with classic rock cliches and generic rock bullshit. Maybe that's the point. The namesake of the book is, after all, a wedding band. I just can't get past such pandering, or lack of taster, whatever the case may be. And I do really think Perrotta is pandering to us. He doesn't trust his readers to know what a marble notebook is. Who the hell would be reading this book and not know what a marble notebook is? Nobody.There's enough humor to carry the book, and to make it quite a nice vacation read. It's relaxing if you don't let the clumsiness of Perrotta's writing get on your nerves. Rockin' Randy and the Shiny Angels and the Nazis at the Wursthaus kept me laughing, but Dave's feeble attempt to step into Gretchen's world got me to cringing.All in all, I have to say that Perrotta leaves us with images that are much more rich than the words with which he creates them. I cringe when reading, but on reflection I enjoy the comedy - and rarely the poignancy - of the situations. Kirkus wrote, "It'll make a terrific movie." It's certainly got all the trappings of a shitty romantic comedy.Nonetheless, I think I could read another Perrotta book.

I have been reading all the Tom Perrotta books and I think this one might be the saddest, in terms of what it reveals about the nature of dreams and in this case, not knowing when to let them go. Many of the later books involve some middle aged person undergoing a crisis (with the exception of Joe College, which is about a 20-something) but this one is about a somewhat younger character and has the funny yet depressing theme of growing up and getting over your adolescence. This is the story of Dave, guitarist in the wedding group the Wishbones, who somewhat impulsively decides to ask his girlfriend of fifteen years to marry him. The fact that he has been with the same girl...on and off...for so long indicates a serious problem, an inability to get over himself and commit to something other than his music. Additionally, there is his affair with a woman in the city, which tests and challenges his upcoming marriage and makes him wonder why he is going through with it. He is hanging on to his dream of being a rock star when the dream has long since moved past him. It is heartbreaking, but you spend more time laughing out loud at the way the story unfolds. I enjoy Tom Perrotta's books so much I almost hate that I read them so fast. I also think that he has an excellent sense for writing about relationships, often nailing the many feelings we go through when we are in one. Soooo good! Bad Haircut next!

What do You think about The Wishbones (1999)?

Another good read by Tom Perrotta. And another man cheats on his significant other. Seriously, it makes me as a reader wonder why infidelity is consistent theme in Perrotta's books, and how comfortable his wife is with it.The Wishbones are a wedding band. Don't think 'Wedding Singer' here, ala Adam Sandler. Think of what would happen if Rob, Barry, and Dick from Hornby's High Fidelity made a band. Dysfunction and mayhem, right? Of course. Because dysfunction and mayhem is what Perrotta does best. And of course, adultery.The Wishbones are comprised of Buzzy, Artie, Stan, Ian, and Dave, the main character. Dave is basically in a comfortable rut: he works a delivery job during the day and the occasional wedding gig by night and has been dating Julie for over 13 years. After an unexpected heart-attack of the lead singer of a rival wedding band, Dave panics and asks Julie to marry him. Though he regrets asking the next day, the wedding is already set in motion and he can't do anything about it. Until he meets Gertrude, a sexy poet from NYC, and starts an affair with her. He is torn between a girl he loves and a girl he wants, and of course what the next step for him is, in relationships and in life.The sidestories are great, too--Buzzy, the alcoholic; Stan, a new-found alcoholic recently seperated from his wife; Ian, the gorgeous lead-singer who has written a musical about the JFK assassinations; Artie, the jerk manager. A fun read, and a mildly predictable end, but still. Another good one by Perrotta, one that can be re-read more than once for pleasure.
—Abigail Hillinger

I think I've had enough of hanging out with the guys, for awhile. Is there a name for this genre? It seems as if every third book I've read lately is told by some oblivious guy in the midst of wedding preparations who is challenged by the concepts of self control, responsibility and basic budgeting and planning. I was enjoying this book until it delved deeper into Dave's intimate relationships and his deliberate choice to leave every conflict unaddressed. I feel like I transferred on to the wrong bus, halfway through the trip, and am now in a neighborhood I'd rather avoid.

I'm a fan of Tom Perotta. I especially admire his ability to get ahead of social trends in his books. He seems to sense the "next big thing" and he's there, several steps ahead.In this amusing but not overly demanding novel, Perotta gives us the archetypal character of Dave, a boy-man of 31 still struggling to grow up. Since this book came out in 1997, that character has become the stock-in-trade of Judd Apatow and his ilk. But Perotta was there first.Dave is a rock star-wannabe who plays in a wedding band and lives at home with his parents. Sound familiar? It's a classic case of "failure to launch." He's been going out with Jennifer for 15 years since they were high-school juniors (with a couple of breaks).One evening, feeling emotional after watching another ancient musician keel over and die, Dave proposes. No sooner does he take the plunge than he gets cold feet. And he meets Gretchen, the cool, poetic, Brooklyn-living, semi-intellectual who could be his true soul-mate.One thing I've notices about Perotta's books is that after the skillful set-up, which seems to be pointing to a truly magnificent climax, he often cops out and settles for the conventional happy ending. Such is also the case here.Perhaps that's fitting. A big climax may have been too heavy for a story this lightweight.This book is amusing and Perotta has a good ear for dialogue as well as for the pulse of the zeitgeist (if I can mix metaphors). It's a pleasant read.

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