At first, I was irritated by this book. I enjoyed the movie, like most people, but in the book you see way, way more of the protagonist's noodling and over-thinking and pointless ruminations and it just gets so tiresome. Especially if you're a woman reading this. And a woman way too late in her game to care about these kinds of ruminations. You can't help shouting at the page: get over yourself and bite the bullet, dude!
However, the novel redeemed itself in two ways:
- It's funny as all get out. It's unfortunate that I can see Jack Black in my mind every time they riff on a top-5 list in the store. I'd like to know if those scenes would "play" as well in my mind without the movie version there in advance. Regardless, and obviously, the discussions of music are integral for both the main character's growth and to provide a lot more than a thought-provoking essay on the state of being a man in the modern era.
- The girlfriend is really well written. She's a mess, but she's a thoughtful, brave, heartfelt mess. You can see why he likes her and you can see why he should be with her. She may teeter a bit on the "fantasy-woman" edge because no one is quite that put together, but this kind of woman is believable.
I doubt I'll be reading his other books. In the end, they're too "male" and I just find that boring.