If you like stories about sex, violence, cars and sports, this book is for you. While the writing is clever, witty, and flows seamlessly, there seems to be no spiritual center and the narrative seems thin and shallow. Although the main character does seem somewhat aware of his unhappy egocentricity, the book consists primarily of guy stuff and the female characters are lacking in definition except as sexual commodities. I have nothing against this type of book per se, as "The Memory of Running" and "Dry" both fill the male-focused coming of age novel with depth and dimension and are a pleasure to read but to this reviewer "The Book of Joe" is just another comic book. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.
I'm sorry to be the lone voice of dissent! To me, the book seemed not funny and sad, as I'd hoped, but alternately crass and maudlin, see-sawing from chest-pounding bathos to smirking, cheap jokes. Also, you may want to know that Scott Brick, who narrates Sideways, also narrates this book. To me, Brick's narration is difficult to deal with: his hushed, intense tone suggests a level of drama that's not present in the book, and his catch-all voice for women is subtly -- but increasingly noticeably -- weird.