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Boonville: A Novel Paperback – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"...the funniest (debut novel) since Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus...very, very funny...Anderson may be the WASP Lenny Bruce." -- Anderson Valley Advertiser November 21, 2001
"A sardonic and beautifully imagined first novel...pages of well-tuned humor...distinguished by an exemplary eye for emotional detail." -- SF Weekly, October 31-November 6, 2001 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
That the strange little town of Boonville, California is an obscure target makes it no less an easy one.
And if I told you that the first word in the novel is "Boonville" and the last is "Yee-haw," you might fairly assume that Robert Mailer Anderson lets the obvious gags write themselves and adds nothing worth a second look.
Not at all. I have lived in Boonville for just over a year now myself, and in fact I only read Anderson's novel for that sad little "I can see my house from here!" thrill, but if anything, the familiar setting proved to be a mild distraction from what is otherwise a hilarious and morbidly charming book.
John Gibson inherits a cabin and a demented legacy from his grandmother and reluctantly travels from Florida to California, leaving his girlfriend of several years in the process. He arrives in town on page 11, and by page 72 he has already decided, "F**k it... F**k it all. F**k being hung over and getting beat up... Most of all, f**k Boonville."
But he doesn't quite manage to get out, and soon he meets Sarah McKay, a young "hippie by association" who is more ambitious and self-aware than her fellow dropouts at the Waterfall commune, and thus inevitably more bitter, as well. She and John share a distracted but very real attraction and interest in one another, but little comes of it in any traditional or predictable sense due to an unlikely series of obstacles, ranging from naked hippies grunting menacingly on all fours to violent rednecks whose idea of reconstructive surgery is super-glue to reattach a chopped lip.
Anderson provides (pop) cultural context without resorting to the simple name dropping of lesser writers.Read more ›
But it gets better. Another chapter starts, "John wondered if waking up in Boonvile was the worst thing the world had to offer. Worse than Turkish prisons, worse than being buried alive, worse than reruns of "Three's Company," fruitcakes, heavy metal, herpes, Lee Iacocca, being trapped in an elevator with Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli and Whitney Houston..." Gosh, isn't he FUNNY?!
Because I thought maybe...*maybe*...there really was something here. But there isn't. I have to agree with all those who say this is smugness on steroids. It's poorly-written--comes off like a first-shot at writing a novel in some freshman junior college creative writing class. The characters are cliches, the sentences are as well, and we're supposed to be impressed by 1) the author's know-it-all tone and 2) the eccentric band of characters in a small town, something every new novelist in the last 35 years has done to death. I have to think this only got published because of the author's social connections (read the way-too-long bio blurb to see what I mean, or look him up on Wikipedia). Also hate to say it, but it seems like many or most of the "rave" reviews are solicitations. They don't read like honest reviews, eg: "Boonville is like Carl Hiaasen crossed with Updike's Rabbit stories. Hilarious! A page turner. Energy in each sentence. Dark in it's humor, the funniest passages ring absolutely true, dealing with the human condition and the big question of why we exist. I can't remember a better first novel...Read more ›
that said, hippies, or people with new age tendancies, need not even crack open this book as Anderson has his fun with you guys....and he did make me laugh when doing so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a good read especially if your from the aria and haven't been home in a while. really want another book from this author.Published on August 6, 2013 by 11b in the stan
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was a little difficult to get into the authors writing style, but as soon as I did I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished on July 16, 2012 by Pennie M. Wolfe
I lived in Boonville for several years as a newcomer, too, and I want readers to know that there are many wonderful people in the town and community. Read morePublished on March 18, 2012 by Nan Crussell
If you rate a book one star, folks who disagree will depreciate your review without reading it. So be it. Read morePublished on September 19, 2011 by Ancient_Fossil
Great novel. Robert Mailer Anderson manages to capture the idiosyncracies of culture in a very small, extremely diverse town. He also develops his characters with extreme depth. Read morePublished on June 30, 2011 by JC
I never, ever quit reading a book in the middle--even forced myself all the way through "Atlas Shrugged" just so I'd be able to definitively explain why I'll never read Ayn Rand... Read morePublished on April 22, 2009 by Rather Be Reading
Boonville is a book that is funny and witty in places, but plodding and unfocused in others. Its most consistent flaw, however, is that the humor is too broad and cliched to be... Read morePublished on April 12, 2009 by Lleu Christopher
This is a great "beach book" full of some laughs. It's certainly not great literature & is not expected to be taken as such. Read morePublished on June 17, 2008 by tempusfugit
I don't know anything about the real-life basis of this book and I don't really care. I picked it up as a quick read, with no expectations. Read morePublished on May 10, 2007 by Dixie Diamond