Electrode, Comp-389266877, DC-prod-cdc02, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-26.20.0, SHA-38e78de46db1a394393656b0979b8716e9fdfcf0, CID-97f42c4d-ef4-1670bace817cdf,97f42c4d-ef4-1670bace817c8a,97f42c4d-ef4-1670bace817c8a

Wonder Boys

Walmart # 566994817

Wonder Boys

Walmart # 566994817
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Electrode, Comp-389266832, DC-prod-cdc02, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-26.20.0, SHA-38e78de46db1a394393656b0979b8716e9fdfcf0, CID-756b1701-6fd-1670bae5cee629,756b1701-6fd-1670bae5cee49f,756b1701-6fd-1670bae5cee49f

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I still remember sitting

I still remember sitting down with this book for the first time, excited and thrilled, knowing only that I was readying another book from the author of Cavalier and Clay. Swaying back and forth over the first hundred pages, one second entranced and the next revolted, hating the main character and yet captivated by this train wreck of a man, until eventually I quit battling against the incessant pull of this book and just dove in. Of course, this novel delves in Chabon's prodigious vocabulary, and occasionally lingers almost too long over simple moments, but these are the traits Chabon's work which either draws you deeper into the story or repels you, but for myself the luxurious language intoxicates rather than disgust.

So you know that bit of C

So you know that bit of Chekhovian wisdom about the gun? It occurred to me over and over again throughout the reading of this book. Every element Chabon inserted into this story goes off sooner or later in one way or another, including the boa constrictor. I can't say that the progression of the plot is predictable, but I want to say something almost like that and in the most positive way; a page and a half before every new tragedy in the inexorably unraveling life of Grady Tripp you can begin to see something coming, you can watch how Chabon's facsimile of fate and chance conspire to bring about one travesty after another. It's a virtuoso performance of plot-craft. But, as I've discovered over and over in Chabon's writing, the real gem isn't the plot (though it's impeccable), it isn't the prose (though it's beautiful), it isn't concept (though it's interesting), it's his characters. Now, I'm not normally a reader who loves literature for the characters most of all, and I tend to read with disbelief only partially suspended, but Chabon's characters become real to me. I audibly gasp, I laugh out loud, my jaw literally drops; I read portions of this book pacing in my kitchen with my wife occasionally asking if everything was okay, and me wanting to answer "how could it be, with all that stuff in Grady's trunk?!" It doesn't even matter that Grady kind of sucks, that he's a terrible person; I still feel for the guy, still root for him. This book is highly recommended to that kind of reader whose reading is a symptom of a half-smothered, stillborn, frustrated ambition to write. I know you're out there.

Well, the third reading o

Well, the third reading of this book left me less impressed than the first two. I don't know if it's changing times, or age, or what, but this time Grady Tripp REALLY annoyed me. It especially annoyed me that he stole somebody's tuba, hauled it around in the rain, and then abandoned it. I just kept thinking of some poor musician, arriving in Pittsburgh for a gig only to find that there's no trace of his tuba because some pothead has stolen it and driven it around for several days before leaving it on the street to get ruined. I'm pretty sure I found that absurdly hilarious the first time I read it, so I might have matured a little since then. Anyway, it also bothered me this time that in all the driving around and the huge cast of characters, nothing really happens. Or actually, a lot of things happen, but they have no relationship to anything else that happens. I never got any real sense of any of the other characters--why is James so weird? What happened to Hannah? What would ever interest Sara or Emily about a person like Grady? And why does Grady seem so much older than 41? But at least it doesn't end the way the movie does; the ending of the movie drove me UP THE WALL. All I can imagine is that some test audience wanted a happier ending than the book seems to have. I guess the previous two times I read this book and loved it I was in a different state of mind, with different opinions of what makes a good book. I still liked it well enough to read it three times, though. That must mean something, right?

Chabon writes like a hand

Chabon writes like a handful of drugs. And gives the reader a hangover. But every writer one day must record the night terrors: writing courses, workshops, editors, seminars, and the novel that won't finish. Along with the effluvia of life: ex-wives, dead dogs, Passover, pregnancy, transvestites, and young writer-groupies.

This is one of those book

This is one of those books in which I experienced the movie first. In fact, I don't think I was even aware of the book before seeing "based on" in the film's credits. Picked up the book at a used/wholesale book store some time afterwards, and have been sitting on it since. As I am currently trying my best to focus on my many owned but unread books, figured it was past time to give this one a go. And I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie. There is something, to me, about reading about other writers and their struggles, be they real or fictional. When dealing with my own perceived inadequacies, it's nice to know that other writers go through that as well. There are times I feel like I should just let go of some of my older projects instead of continuously holding on to them in the hope that they finally lead somewhere. There is just so much going on in this story. There's Tripp and his seven year attempt at a novel that still has no end in sight, his oldest friend Crabtree who enjoys a good time even with the looming specter of possible unemployment, Tripp's estranged wife who has left right as the novel opens, his female student slash tenant with a massive crush on him, his Holden Caulfield wannabe student with problems, his mistress who also happens to be the Chancellor of his school, her husband who also happens to be Dean of his department, and their blind dog with homicidal tendencies towards Tripp. Put 'em all in the same pot and watch them stew, bring to a boil. I did try to remember the movie as I read, and certain parts did come back, but it's been so long since I've seen it that it's hard to remember everything, along with what may or may not have changed. About halfway through this read, I went and picked up a copy of the movie on DVD, as the desire to rewatch it grew stronger as I read.
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