20 March 2010

Books: The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta (1997)

It occurred recently to me that author Jonathan Tropper -I've read 3 of his five books over the last 8 months - could be classified as "guy lit," the male version of "chick lit," which are novels about written by women for women -the collected works of Sophia Kinsella comes to mind. And then there's Nicholas Sparks, who is a male author writing novels that only women like. You know, those Lifetime network novels about strong women and men who do manly things, but all have the heart of Romeo.

Anyways, was reading the priase that appear in Tropper's books and Tom Perrotta (Little Children, Election) was suggested as another author guys might like. Thus, this was how I picked up Perrotta's debut 1997 novel The Wishbones.

After witnessing the onstage collapse of a 73-year-old singer (right in the middle of his deadpan rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin"), 31-year-old Dave Raymond - the lead guitarist in a New Jersey wedding band - starts to feel intimations of his own mortality, and he does the unthinkable. He pops the question to his long-suffering girlfriend, whom he's been dating on and off for 15 years.

The next day, of course, he regrets it.

Thus he spends the rest of the novel trying to figure out how to get out of it, all while helping plan the fall wedding. He also stumbles into an affair with a bridesmaid at a wedding, who turns out to be a poet. Adding to the problems include a band that is slowly self-destructing, with each of its members facing a life changing issues.

While its another in a line of coming-of-age novels, The Wishbones is more original and fresh, with its incisive humor and pop-music riffs. Hilariously funny, it also unpretentious work of pure entertainment.

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