9780312361785

Joe College: A Novel

Perrotta, Tom

ISBN 10: 0312361785 / 0-312-36178-5
ISBN 13: 9780312361785
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Populated by a vividly drawn cast of characters -- Yale students and lunch truck drivers alike -- JOE COLLEGE evokes two radically different worlds through Tom Perrotta's distinctive combination of humor, sweetness, and telling detail. JOE COLLEGE is a serious comic novel about love, higher education, and food service, a uniquely American story about the mistakes we sometimes make and the illusions we have to shed on the way to finding our place in the world.

Review:
Having penned Election, a great novel of high-school manners, Tom Perrotta gives us Joe College, a great novel about college mores. In 1982, one Yale junior struggles with George Eliot, dorm blanket bingo, dining-hall dish-line duty, a massive crush on a girl in love with his favorite prof, daily cards and calls from a girl back home in New Jersey, and a lush profusion of authentically individual yet instantly recognizable undergrad eccentrics. After an evening of ritualistic bong hits, kimchee feasting, and sympathetic discussion of Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who shot President McKinley, Danny thinks of his parents: "Was this what they scrimped and sacrificed for all those years? So their son could spend his Tuesday nights drinking beer, smoking dope, eating weird food, and learning to see the assassin's side of the story?"

Yup, that's the way it was, and Perrotta's immense strength is to give moment-by-moment immediacy to his hero's tortuous internal monologue. Instead of dumping his Jersey girl, Danny figures, "if I avoided her long enough, she'd get tired of waiting and supply my half of the conversation on her own, thereby sparing me the unpleasantness of having to be the bad guy." Yet he is also capable of heroism, as when he impulsively defies no-neck Mafiosi who menace his dad's "Roach Coach" lunch truck, which Danny drives to blue-collar work sites during school breaks. What gives the story structure is the collision in our hero's soul between his former life and the world of towers, moats, and upward mobility. He can't quite identify with his hometown reverence for Bruce Springsteen, but it rubs him wrong to see Springsteen LPs played "for the enjoyment of people who were going to end up being the bosses of the people the Boss was singing about. Nobody in Entryway C was born to run."

Election may have a better plot, but Joe College scoots along like a waterskeeter on a marvelous stream of consciousness. Tom Perrotta was born to write. --Tim Appelo

Review

Review:
For many college students, Spring Break means fun and sun in Florida. For Danny, a Yale junior, it means two weeks behind the wheel of the Roach Coach, his father's lunch truck, which plies the parking lots of office parks in central New Jersey. 
 
But Danny can use the time behind the coffee urn to try and make sense of a love life that's gotten a little complicated.  There's loyal and patient hometown honey Cindy and her recently dropped bombshell to contend with.  And there's also lissome Polly back in New Haven--with her shifting moods, perfect thrift store dresses and inconvenient liaison with a dashing professor.
 
If girl problems aren't enough, there's the constant menace of the Lunch Monsters, a group of thugs who think Danny has planted the Roach Coach in their territory.
 
JOE COLLEGE is Tom Perrotta's warmest and funniest fiction yet, a comic journey into the dark side of love, higher education and food service.

From the Inside Flap

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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