Archive for the ‘Tom Perrotta’ Category

The Wishbones

March 23, 2009

wishbones

I went in the library last week looking for something that was like chick lit but with substance.  I don’t want to waste my time reading a brainless book about a girl who’s only goal in life is to get married.  But I want to read something that is entertaining, something that doesn’t require too much brain power, but at the same time doesn’t feel like I’m killing off my brain cells by reading it.  If anyone has suggestions for chick lit with substance, please let me know.

Anyway, I came out of the library with Tom Perrotta’s first novel, The Wishbones. I love Tom Perrotta.  Although I think he missed the mark with The Abstinence Teacher, his earlier novels Joe College, Election and Little Children are among my favorite books.  The Wishbones is about Dave, your average 30-something guy from suburban New Jersey.  Even though he would love to be the next Bruce Springsteen, Dave plays guitar in a wedding band and is engaged to his high school sweetheart.  His life seems very safe.  But then he meets a new and exciting girl from the city – a poet from Brooklyn.  Does he play it safe and stay in Jersey or risk loosing the life he has now for a chance to live the life of his dreams? 

The Wishbones is like High Fidelity meets The Wedding Singer.  It’s hysterical and touching and manages to be authentic and original even though its your typical coming of age / becoming an adult story.  It was good to read since I’m sort of going through a “now I’m adult what should I do with my life” phase. 

Last week I got rejected from Columbia for grad school.  It’s not a big deal, their program was not one of my top choices and I think they’re just an over-priced brand name school anyway, but it was the first grad school I’ve heard back from.  And the rejection comes at time when I’m really, really starting to strongly dislike my job.  Last week I found out a number of my co workers are quitting and I got this panicky feeling like I’m on a sinking ship and I need to get out.  Grad school was my out.  There is only one other school I applied for in NYC.  If I don’t get in there what will I do?  Last week when I got my rejection letter I just felt like quitting my job, recession and finances be damned, and doing volunteer work cleaning up nature trails through the Meadowlands.  But realistically?  I’d never do that.  But I would love to.  Sometimes I don’t even know if I want to study public health in grad school anymore.  But maybe this is just the burn out I feel from my current job.  Who knows.

Yesterday I went to Manny’s house because his nieces wanted me to teach them how to bake cookies.  All four nieces were measuring ingredients at the same time, so needless to say our measurements were not the most exact or precise or accurate.  We might have confused the baking soda with baking powder.  But something went wrong because our cookies came out completely flat, like crackers (but still tasty!).  The girls told me that in Mexico they call this el ojo (the eye).  It happens because we were thinking too much about the cookies, which caused them to deflate.  The oldest niece told me this happens to her when she bakes cakes.  She tries too hard and thinks too much about it, and the middle of cake deflates and sinks.  We put the next tray of cookies in the oven and we made the decision not to think about cookies.  We talked about our favorite movies.  The cookies came out better (still flat but less deflated).

Whatever happens with my job, grad school, my career, and the direction of my life, I hope I have the courage to: 1.) not be afraid to do what I want to and 2.) not to settle and 3.) not become a victim of el ojo by over-analyzing everything in my life like I always do.

The Abstinence Teacher

September 25, 2008

The Abstinence Teacher was disappointing, which sucks because I was really looking forward to this book.  It has all the workings of a great book – a single mom who teaches pro-birth control high school sex ed, and a cute ex-druggie, ex-rockstar born again Christian dude meet on an a suburban soccer field and its lust at first sight.  It could have been so good!  I really enjoyed Perrotta’s other novels, Joe College, Election, and Little ChildrenI love how he builds subtle tensions between his characters and introduces atypical situations in his novels, which are usually about typical, normal, everyday people who live in the burbs.  But nothing really happens in this book.  The sex ed teacher, Ruth, meets Tim, the ex-druggie born again and that’s it.  Instead of moving forward, the rest of the book consists of flashbacks about their pasts and how they got to where they are when we first meet them.  Then it ends.  Bummer.