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The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta
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The Wishbones (1997)

by Tom Perrotta

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385927,939 (3.59)7
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Not bad, not good, just kind of... eh. 2.5 stars ( )
  cait815 | Apr 1, 2013 |
This was a reread of what should be considered a classic tale of the “drifter” generation: the one that missed the love and peace of the ‘60s but was too old to be the Boomers’ spoiled children.

Dave, the main character, is conducting an aimless life as a guitarist in a wedding band who accidentally becomes engaged to his girlfriend of 15 years, then just as haphazardly begins an affair with another girl weeks before his wedding. Dave can’t seem to feel passionate about anything, and perhaps that’s why he has no purpose. But we like him despite that, as well as his cronies in the band, and when they really start to rock together, we are right there with them, asking for just one more song.

First read in the late 1990s; read in 2004. ( )
  sturlington | Aug 4, 2011 |
Its VERY Nick Hornby or is Tom Perotta like him? Not sure either way its very similar. A story of growing up in your '30s and making sacrifices, music and mates. This isnt high fiction but thats OK its confessional, easy reading and it guides you through with humour and pathos despite Dave not necessarily being the nice guy.
I dont think this is a patch on some of his other books Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher are far better but it would make good holiday reading, undemanding but with a plot that moves you forward. ( )
  withwill | Feb 14, 2011 |
Perrotta's "lad lit" book treats many of the same themes Nick Hornby addresses in High Fidelity - music, commitment, a no-longer-young man facing himself and making choices about who he wants to become - but with little of the nuance and generosity of spirit that Hornby summons. Perrotta's women exist solely to make a point about the men they accompany, not as fully realized characters in their own right, and his "nice guy" protagonist Dave doesn't grow up so much as fall into marriage with his long-time sweetheart. She's no prize either, encouraging him to give up the one thing that's been a meaningful constant to him since his teen years. Perrotta's take on relationships is both depressing and juvenile, but his easy style and smooth plotting at least make this a breeze to read. ( )
  framberg | Oct 4, 2010 |
If it wasn't about a bunch of 30-and 40-somethings, this could almost have been one of those teen reads I used to get out of the library twenty five years ago. I could feel the gravitational pull of a happy ending from very early on, it was just a matter of how schmalzy it was going to be, and whether it was going to make me want to throw up.

Top marks to this author, he managed to pull off a really witty story with enough going on to make it interesting, peopled by characters with plenty of bad points so they weren't just cardboard cut-outs. Clearly there were never going to be any major tragedies here, it was tightrope walking with a big fat safety net. But on the other hand, sometimes you want a straightforward read, and a story that isn't clouded by symbolism or couched in flowery language. A read that is, above, all, fun. That's exactly what this book was, and though it ws a bit cheesy at the end, there was just enough grit in there to counteract the cheese. He even managed to work some Nazis into the plot somehow. Sort of chick-lit with a side order of punch-ups and bad hygiene in the Gents'. Great! ( )
  jayne_charles | Aug 25, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
This must be the death of rock 'n roll. ...
--Todd Rundgren
Dedication
for my parents
First words
Buzzy, the bass player, had a suspended license, so Dave swung by his house on the way to the Wednesday-night showcase.
Quotations
The whole concept of engagement rings struck him as an enormous scam perpetrated by the jewelry industry to force you into making the single most expensive useless purchase of your entire lifetime just to avoid looking like a cheapskate to your future wife, her family, friends, and co-workers.
...the priesthood ranked near the bottom on his scale of occupations, way down below prison guard and clerk at the DMV. The celibacy thing was a real sticking point.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425163148, Paperback)

Tom Perrotta's first novel, The Wishbones, is all about that much-maligned class of 30-ish men who still live at home with their parents, guys who make furtive love to their girlfriends--if they have them at all--in the basement rec room or the back seat of a car. But Dave Raymond, the protagonist of The Wishbones, doesn't waste his time on Star Trek reruns or computer games; he spends his weekends playing in a wedding band called The Wishbones, using the rapidly receding dream of rock stardom as an excuse to put off growing up. The sudden death of a fellow musician sends Dave into something of a tailspin, however, and in a moment of weakness, he proposes to his longtime girlfriend, Julie. The engagement has hardly been announced when Dave meets Gretchen, a bridesmaid at one of the weddings at which The Wishbones play, and before long he's having serious doubts about his own marital plans.

Everybody knows someone like Dave, but a real-life puer aeternus is rarely as entertaining as Perrotta's fictional one. Perrotta wisely surrounds his sad-sack protagonist with an array of entertaining supporting characters, from a joint-smoking priest to one of Dave's band-mates whose life work is a musical based on Kennedy's assassination. By the time The Wishbones winds down to its well-deserved end, readers will be wishing for a second novel from Tom Perrotta soon.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:24 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A thirty-one-year-old rock'n'roll guitarist decides to get married, only to begin an affair with Gretchen, a New York poet, and finds himself torn between letting his dreams die and having a steady gig.

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