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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Why did you keep writing this book if you didn't even know what it was about?"
In this farcical send-up of academia and the writing life, author Michael Chabon focuses on forty-ish author Grady Tripp, an aptly named writer/professor who is so often stoned that after seven years he has written two thousand pages of a book that is not even close to being finished. Grady's book, Wonder Boys, is much like his life--lacking in focus, fixated on the...
Published on 21 April 2007 by Mary Whipple

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film...
I nearly always read a book first and then watch the film, usually tutting throughout that `it's not like that in the book'. With Wonder Boys however the process has been reversed as I am a big fan of Curtis Hanson's fabulous film which I have seen several times but have only just read the book.

Whether it was my love for the film or Chabon's cold writing style...
Published on 10 Jun 2011 by P. Borrington


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film..., 10 Jun 2011
By 
P. Borrington "philipborrington" (Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
I nearly always read a book first and then watch the film, usually tutting throughout that `it's not like that in the book'. With Wonder Boys however the process has been reversed as I am a big fan of Curtis Hanson's fabulous film which I have seen several times but have only just read the book.

Whether it was my love for the film or Chabon's cold writing style I'm not sure but I never really got into Wonder Boys. Chabon is undoubtedly a gifted writer but always, to me at least, seems to have the knack of writing unlikeable characters. Michael Douglas made Grady Tripp almost loveable in the film, here he's a bit unfathomable and the key relationship with Crabtree (done so much better in the film) never convinces.

I never thought I'd say this but, given the choice, watch the film.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Why did you keep writing this book if you didn't even know what it was about?", 21 April 2007
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
In this farcical send-up of academia and the writing life, author Michael Chabon focuses on forty-ish author Grady Tripp, an aptly named writer/professor who is so often stoned that after seven years he has written two thousand pages of a book that is not even close to being finished. Grady's book, Wonder Boys, is much like his life--lacking in focus, fixated on the moment, and completely empty of goals or a sense of direction. His third wife has walked out on him; he's been carrying on a five-year affair with Sarah Gaskell, the Chancellor of the college, who is now pregnant with his baby; his editor is pressing him for a final draft of his unfinished book; and his publisher and everyone at the college are wondering if he will ever duplicate the success of his first novel.

During a writer's conference at the college, Grady "saves" one of his students, James Leer, from a possible suicide attempt, but his "mentoring" of James leads to hilariously absurd disasters for both of them. Grady's editor Terry Crabtree, the tuba-playing transvestite "girlfriend" he has brought with him, a collector of memorabilia from the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, Grady's estranged wife, the pregnant Chancellor, and the violent owner of a car that Grady was given to settle a debt, flesh out the characters and keep the reader amused and laughing almost non-stop.

As the weekend progresses and Grady's personal life further unravels, he finds himself driving around with the transvestite's tuba, the Chancellor's fatally shot malamute, and an equally dead ten-foot boa in the car's trunk. Scenes in which he tries to prevent the trunk from being opened are worthy of the Marx Brothers.

The dialogue is snappy, the narrative speeds along, the word play and humor never flag, and the satire of academic life and the world of writers shows the stamp of familiarity and the author's own wacky sense of perspective. A grand farce which carries the bite of satire, Wonder Boys avoids the arch self-consciousness of so many novels of academia and comes across instead as pure, unadulterated fun. n Mary Whipple
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the film? - read the book, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
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The story ostensibly centres on Prof Grady Tripp's attempts at completing his increasingly out of control follow up novel of the title, Wonder Boys; yet as is not surprising with Michael Chabon, as well as an interesting plot, it is very much about characters and relationships. Central here, in addition to Grady himself, are his editor Terry Crabtree and young student James Lear, something of a loner, as well as host of other divers characters including Grady's pregnant mistress, an adoring female student, a transvestite, a dead dog and a tuba.
The real beauty of the novel is the interaction between the various characters. Grady and carefree drug reliant Crabtree are long standing friends and this clearly comes through. Crabtree has a crush on the Grady's mysterious student, the unreliable James; Grady's beautiful student tenant has a crush on him; and Grady's third marriage is coming to an end while he pursues his mistress, the college Chancellor. His failing marriage does not prevent visiting his wife's family for Thanksgiving, and taking along James. The relationship between Grady and James is particularly well drawn; while seemingly a little detached from James, it is clear from Grady's actions and the superbly written lengthy dialogues between the two that Grady cares about James.
No one comes out of this shining, the individual characters do have their redeeming features, it would be a mistake to right them off as insincere, and one cannot help be drawn to these people for all their human failings.
Wonder Boys is very funny, enjoyable and at times moving, but above all it is the beauty of Chabon's writing that makes it an absolute must read. If you've seen the film you must read the book, there are, not surprisingly, differences.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-life crisis and writers block make a fertile ground for drama here, 11 April 2008
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
A fine amalgam of several American themes into one, Wonder Boys successfully combines elements of the campus novel with those of writer's block and family get-togethers for holiday celebrations into one.
We follow the exploits of Grady Tripp, lecturer, adulterer, pot-head and sometime novelist, over a long weekend as his editor comes to town for a literary conference and he celebrates Passover with his separated wife's family. Added to that he's under pressure to finish his novel Wonder boys which is now running at 2000 pages. Basically his life is out of control, and we have a great time on the roller coaster with him. Although all this is highly amusing, Chabon does make us sympathise with Grady, which makes this a highly satisfying and witty novel.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will disappoint fans of 'Kavalier & Clay', 22 May 2008
By 
reader 451 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
The story goes that Chabon composed Wonder Boys in a few weeks, after getting stuck on a 1,000 page tome. Turning his predicament around, he decided to write about being bogged down with an unfinishable 1,000 page manuscript.

I never understood why writers think writing itself, or their misdemeanours when they can't engage in it, should be of such great interest to the public. But this aside, one can't expect a work produced in a few weeks to live up to one that was matured over years; so fans of Kavalier & Clay are likely to be disappointed by Wonder Boys. The WWII, comic-book-inspired epic was a rich and deeply-felt adventure tale, but this is mostly about parties and the hangovers that follow them, and it takes the reader no further than a few miles outside the university campus. Even Chabon's normally lush, elliptical, but evocative style is only ironic in this earlier novel. And it contains minor inconsistencies. Of course, Chabon is never boring, and he doesn't fail to amuse with anecdotes and nice character portraits. But this book seemed to me atypical and unworthy of his awesome imagination.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! Dark and Rich Humour, 15 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
Michael Chanbons prose is delightful. Jam packed with detail and wit, this is the perfect book for someone who enjoys good wholesome humour. Particular incidents with the snake are very amusing. The book sometimes is a bit hard going and requires complete concentration, but with perseverance this is an excellent book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars so I thought I must try particularly it was hailed as funny. The protagonist is a pot head professor of ..., 13 Oct 2014
By 
Dr. Laurence G. Measey "measeyl" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wonder Boys (Kindle Edition)
A famed American author. so I thought I must try particularly it was hailed as funny. The protagonist is a pot head professor of Literature at some US university where his lack of publication for 7 years goes unremarked. His great work is, in fact a collection of marihuana dreams and perceptual distortion which is pure self indulgence. He gets his comeuppance but it is weak and lacking humorous narrative drive. I am not sure if I want to read anymore from this mediocre but self important author.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a lush loll among louche lushes, 12 Feb 2004
This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
What I loved about Wonder Boys is its droll expansiveness, the way our narrator manages to be hilariously self-deprecating, while Chabon himself uses extended metaphor and Homeric simile (and that`s as rare as hens` teeth in the modern novel) with extravagant relish. Just as certain actors look like they`re thoroughly enjoying themselves (Nicholson, for example), Chabon reads like he`s having a great time. All this in a novel about a man who`s trying hard (not) to finish a novel - called Wonder Boys!
This is in certain ways quite an old-fashioned novel, like a contemporary version of the 19th century picaresque tale. Oh, and it made me laugh out loud.
Pretty damn wonderful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading the book, 9 July 2013
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This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
I give this book four stars because it wasn't on par with Kavalier and Clay in terms of plot. Still his artistry with metaphor and language is most definitely present. If you enjoy reading a sentence over and over simply for the beauty of it's construction, Chabon is the way to go.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 8 July 2013
This review is from: Wonder Boys (Paperback)
I read this after having read Kavalier and Clay and immediately before reading The Final Solution. It is a far less impressive novel than those two and I urge those who are new to Michael Chabon not to read The Wonder Boys as their first experience of his writing.

The male characters are all repugnant. It is only Chabon's beautiful writing that kept me reading. The female characters are lightly sketched but are used to illustrate the failings of the men.

I did not find the book generally amusing contrary to the views of many other reviewers.
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Wonder Boys
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (Paperback - 3 Mar 2008)
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