Today I finished “Joe College,” written by Tom Perrotta. This is the third book I have read written by Mr. Perrotta, and I am on the fence whether or not I will read a fourth book written by him. I really liked “The Leftovers” but felt ambivalent toward “The Abstinence Teacher.” I would probably rank “Joe College” above “The Abstinence Teacher,” because of the humor and sometimes absurdity of Danny’s story.
I appreciate that Mr. Perrotta creates flawed characters that you can root for one page and then become frustrated with on the next page. “Joe College” tells the story of Danny, a Yale undergraduate student in the early 1980s, whose love life is complicated. Danny is chasing a girl who is not really available, and running away from another girl. He doesn’t make good decisions, and at times, he’s kind of a dick. During his breaks, Danny comes home to New Jersey and helps his dad out by working on his lunch truck. I thoroughly enjoyed a character who loves his parents, and wants to help his dad however he can. That’s what endeared me to Danny.
Overall, I felt like there were some asides and flashbacks that didn’t really add anything to the story, and my attention span took a detour on these these… well, detours. Mr. Perrotta quickly reels you back in, though. I enjoyed the book, but there were way too many parts that lost my attention.