|Tom Perrotta's first novel, The Wishbones, is all about that much-maligned class of 30-ish men who still live at home with their parents, guys who make furtive love to their girlfriends--if they have them at all--in the basement rec room or the back seat of a car. But Dave Raymond, the protagonist of The Wishbones, doesn't waste his time on Star Trek reruns or computer games; he spends his weekends playing in a wedding band called The Wishbones, using the rapidly receding dream of rock stardom as an excuse to put off growing up. The sudden death of a fellow musician sends Dave into something of a tailspin, however, and in a moment of weakness, he proposes to his longtime girlfriend, Julie. The engagement has hardly been announced when Dave meets Gretchen, a bridesmaid at one of the weddings at which The Wishbones play, and before long he's having serious doubts about his own marital plans. |
Everybody knows someone like Dave, but a real-life puer aeternus is rarely as entertaining as Perrotta's fictional one. Perrotta wisely surrounds his sad-sack protagonist with an array of entertaining supporting characters, from a joint-smoking priest to one of Dave's band-mates whose life work is a musical based on Kennedy's assassination. By the time The Wishbones winds down to its well-deserved end, readers will be wishing for a second novel from Tom Perrotta soon.