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The Book of Joe Audiobook

The Book of Joe

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Publisher's Summary

In terms of style, wit, and irony, there is no comparison between Peyton Place and Joe Goffman's Bush Falls. But both books stripped away the facade of small-town propriety to reveal the private, indecorous, and unseemly doings underneath. Joe Goffman was fifteen years out from his sleepy hometown when he wrote Bush Falls, a searing critique of its people and institutions. The book was a runaway best seller, and led to an even more successful movie. Now, however, Joe's got a problem. His father has suffered a stroke, and that means that Joe has to go back to his birthplace after having successfully antagonized every person living there. Can Joe survive the reservoirs of hatred that have been waiting to pour down upon him? Just maybe.

©2004 Jonathan Tropper; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A beautifully crafted book of enormous heart, humility, wit, honesty, and vulnerability. You want to call your friends at 3 a.m. and read whole passages out loud. You want to press it into the hands of strangers. You cannot stop thinking about it because it has rearranged your very molecules. You know that kind of book? This is that kind of book. The Book of Joe is utterly magnificent. I wish I'd written it myself. "(Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors)
"[Tropper] does it with wit, insight, and a lot of fun cultural references." (Booklist)
"The Book of Joe is an elegiac, wickedly observant look at a small town and its secrets. In Jonathan Tropper's highly readable novel, the problem isn't that you can't go home again, it's that eventually you have to, whether you like it or not." (Tom Perrotta, author of Election and Joe College)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (519 )
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4.0 (349 )
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4.3 (350 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dubi New York, NY 06-28-14
    Dubi New York, NY 06-28-14

    People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.

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    "The Prodigal Sonny Returns"
    Where does The Book of Joe rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the very best that I've ever read, both in print (which I read first) and in audio. Like many other people, I discovered Jonathan Tropper through This Is Where I Leave You and faithfully moved along with him with the follow-up, One Last Thing Before I Go. I went back and read his entire back catalog, also listening to many of them in audio format.

    His second novel, The Book of Joe, is the real gem, in my opinion, establishing the formula of a relationship-challenged self-effacing protagonist going back to his roots to face his sick, dying or dead father, rival brother, and long-ago first love, along with various and sundry other characters. All to great comic effect.

    What sets this one apart is its framing device: Joe left home and became a literary success writing a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel about his hometown, and now he has to come back and face all the people he wrote about, not necessarily in a flattering way. The results are hilarious -- the opposite of the dark and violent Banshee, the stage-setter for Tropper's light and comic novels.


    What other book might you compare The Book of Joe to and why?

    The book compares so closely to its successors in the Tropper library, his next four books being riffs on similar topics, although his protagonists age along with the author, going from being young single men to married men to divorced men. But the title asks us to compare this story to the biblical Book of Job, as well as the parable of the prodigal son, Joe leaving home and returning like the latter, and suffering tests of faith like the former.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Scott Brick is one of the most prolific audiobook narrators. Not being one to choose books based on narrator, I have nevertheless listened to about a half dozen of his books across a number of different authors. There is a reason he is so much in demand -- he is one of the most reliable voices of audiobooks, no exception here. He is also fighting cancer of the throat, an irony for someone who relies so much on his voice. But he is so far winning that fight -- here's wishing the best to one of the best.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I could go with the title to this review, with word play similar to what Tropper does with The Book of Job -- "The Prodigal Sonny Returns" -- the parable of the prodigal son being as apropos to this story as that of Job. Or how about, "You really can go home again -- if you don't mind messing everything up first." Unfortunately, the book has gone through a couple of production cycles and has so far not made it onto the big screen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carolette toulon, France 10-19-13
    carolette toulon, France 10-19-13
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    "Très bien écrit, narrateur excellent, histoire bof"

    J'ai beaucoup apprécié le style de l'auteur, le narrateur est parfait, mais j'ai été déçue par l'intrigue même si les thèmes abordés sont intéressants.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario Huixquilucan, Mexico 05-29-13
    Mario Huixquilucan, Mexico 05-29-13
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    "Great book"
    Any additional comments?

    Really great book! loved the story, the narrator's performance was excelent! the only thing that could have been better is how the author closes the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Moore Virginia, USA 11-27-12
    R. Moore Virginia, USA 11-27-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Interesting story"

    The description says the book is "by turns howling funny, fiercely intelligent, and achingly poignant." Lose the adjectives and I'd agree. Well-written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 11-16-11
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 11-16-11 Member Since 2007

    The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great performance by Scott Brick!"

    I heard about this book by watching a video of narrator Scott Brick in which he said it was his personal favorite of all his performances. Since he is among my favorite narrators, I decided to download it and am very glad I did. A predictable plot (it's pretty easy to imagine what would happen if you were to leave your small home town for the big city, write a novel that profoundly insults everyone back home, then return home 20 years later) is rescued by a black comic sensibility and great writing that had me laughing out loud one moment and crying actual tears the next. As promised, Mr. Brick delivered a perfect reading of this memorable novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Fraser Watertown,WI USA 11-13-11
    Lynn Fraser Watertown,WI USA 11-13-11 Member Since 2012

    walkaway

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    "Strap your self in and enjoy the ride!"

    Was it the narrator or the story that made me feel with in the first 5 minutes that I had wasted money on this book? Could it be the narrator painstakingly reading the book slowly or was that the way the author wrote it? Either way I was rolling my eyes. Now, after the story is finished I realized I was set up. They had strapped me in to the car, slowly climbed the coaster first hill only to tear down and around the track of this story.


    Great character development, laughs, tears and wistfulness for your own youth. I first despised the main character, loathed his self destructive ways then I found him interesting. Joe's friend with AIDS touched me as did his lack of sympathy from his religious mother. Joe's ex-girl friend and his brother's wife wasn't who they seemed in the end. It gave the story it's fast curves, loops and turns.

    Just like every ride, the end came as a cushioned but regretful end. The sudden weightlessness as you are lifted off your seat as the whole story came together at the end was a bit of a revelation to me. It gave me some insight on how I dealt with my husband's sudden death and my children"s loss.

    Pay your ticket, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Prindle Erie, PA United States 10-13-11
    Rob Prindle Erie, PA United States 10-13-11 Member Since 2002

    RobPrindle

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    "Encyclopedia of Cliche"

    If I could remember who recommended this book to me I'd sock them in the eye - or more likely write them a nasty email.

    But to be fair - had I been looking for a reference source for cliches this would have been a great find. And Johathan Tropper did write convincingly in the voice of a high school boy - but anyone who's read the fiction writing of high school students might question if that is a good thing.

    And the whole meta-thing was set at full volume: a writer writing about a writer who was remembering what he wrote while writing a new book? Young aspiring writers of America hear my plea: Stop Writing About Writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Proctorville, OH, United States 06-08-11
    Carolyn Proctorville, OH, United States 06-08-11 Member Since 2009

    70 year old grandmother of 2 teenagers. Still working in real estate appraisal field, live in OH and SC - spend time listening & traveling.

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    "Couldn't get the story for the *&#/@ language"

    I THINK this might have been a good book. It was narrated by Scott Brick - my favorite - and had potential for a great listen. Unfortunately, the author seems to think that every character regardless of age or background or role in society MUST say the "F" word every 15 seconds. If this doesn't bother you, then you must have a very limited vocabulary or just not mind hearing the same stupid word over and over. I have often wondered if the characters substituted the word "walk" for the "F" word - how long would we listen to the drivel?? "Did you walk her?" "Did she walk your brains out?" "What the walk are you saying?" "That's a walking lie!" How walking stuped are we???

    12 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHARLES 04-06-16
    CHARLES 04-06-16 Member Since 2010
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    "Writer Returns to Hometown He Trashed in His Novel"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would like the author to tie up loose ends, and show some growth in maturity for his main character over the 17 years(!) he has been absent from his hometown.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jonathan Tropper? Why or why not?

    I have read a couple of other, later books and found them more focused.


    What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His portrayal of the self-involved, slightly whiny main character was pretty spot on.


    Was The Book of Joe worth the listening time?

    It was just OK. There were too many questions left unanswered: Could the main character have apologized for the book he wrote? Was any disciplinary action taken against the townsperson who tried to kill him? What was the reason he broke up with his girlfriend originally?


    Any additional comments?

    It was pretty unbelievable that the main character could return to his hometown after 17 years and almost nothing had changed. The same people still live there, playing virtually the same roles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheryl Hendler 09-06-15
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    "Great Read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Book of Joe to be better than the print version?

    I enjoyed the narrator's version very much. The story is interesting and leaves room for thought. We read it in our book club and it led to a lively discussion


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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