Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of The Book of Joe:
BEWARE: This book was originally published under the title of Bush Falls.
He's a prodigy of alienation. Now a successful writer, having written a book about his home town, Bush Falls, that savaged the place, Joe receives a call from his sister-in-law that his father has had a stroke (he was at the top of the key, had just released the ball, and came down unconscious. Basketball aficionados present noted the ball swished.) Joe's brother, Brad, ex-sports star, and their father never had much time for Joe. His mother had committed suicide, a manic depressive, for whom the piles of pills didn't work, so Joe wrote a book about his town, never dreaming it would be published which has made him personna non grata, but it made him rich. Now finds he is obligated to go back home for his father's illness.
So as with Tropper's other books, in the first few pages a similar scene is set: death, sex, familial dysfunction, alienation. Tropper's books all have similar themes and characters: a stepson/nephew/child. dying parent, dead parent, sibling, a main character alienated from his family. That does not mean they are redundant; each is different in its own way and each equally appealing and often funny and poignant. I like them all.
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