Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: It Feels So Good When I Stop
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on December 21, 2014
Disappointing. There are good reviews here-I'm not sure why.
Nothing really happens, the book ends abruptly, and I felt cheated for having stuck with reading this through to the end. Shouldn't have bothered-i know this is only a debut novel, but I won't be in a hurry to read any subsequent books, even if they do have good reviews..
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VINE VOICEon August 12, 2009
It Feels So Good When I Stop (from here on out IFSGWIS) is about a man at his wits end. The book starts with the marriage and separation of Jocelyn and the narrator (an Everyman type character who is never given a name). After three days of being married (and years of an on again off again relationship), he leaves, runs away for Cape Cod to live with his sister's ex-husband James. There, he experiences the daily life of an unemployed man in his twenties struggling to figure out what's next. He babysits Roy, his sister's son, and becomes incredibly attached, regardless of his desire to never have children. He meets Marie and helps her film a documentary. He makes friends with the locals and learns where he can and can't ride a bike. From the back of the book, the narrator learns "how to love, choose, and commit on his own terms."

IFSGWIS is a seemingly inconsequential book, but that's not to say I didn't like it. It shows what happens when a man loses everything and has to figure out what he wants and what's good for him. Told in modern times with flashbacks interjected, we see how the narrator got to where he was and where he might be going next. The dialogue is fast, funny, conversational and incredibly crude. It felt like I was spying on a conversation two guys were having when they were sure no women were around. Nothing was held back.

As much as I didn't want to like the narrator, I did and I'm sure it's because of Pernice's excellent writing. He was honest, was what was so endearing about him. With music being as central of a character as the narrator, the book is remniscent of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, which isn't surprising considering Pernice is quite the musician himself. Using his musical prowess, a CD will be released in conjunction with the book. According to Pernice, "Though the book is not explicitly about music, there are quite a few cover and fictional songs mentioned, so I thought it would be a cool idea for me to record some of those songs and release them, as a soundtrack album to the novel." How neat is that?

There were certain things that I really enjoyed about the book. I liked the narrator's strange relationship with Marie and how nice it was in contrast to his tumultuous one with Joclyn. Similarly, I loved the scenes with him and his nephew - they show hope for this Everyman. One scene, insignificant to the plot, cracked me up. Ricky, the narrator's former roommate, suggests that he'd look terrific with a Hitler mustache, but it's a shame that he can't grow one due to the stigma attached. "What is the point is why can't I, a decent, semi-law-abiding citizen wear a Hitler?" complains Ricky. He then goes on to compare that mustache to Stalin's, which is generally considered okay to grow (see: Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck). Horrible, yes. Hilarious? Definitely.

I'd like to think Pernice took some inspiration from the 15th century play Everyman, and not just in regards to the character's lack of name. The play was considered a morality play, one that had the viewers take a look and their lives and see what good they've done. In a way, I think this book proposed the same question. The flashbacks are a way for the narrator to reflect.

The book was overall really good, one I seem to like the more I think about it. It's witty, fast and fresh. It doesn't have a concrete ending, it doesn't propose a huge cathartic moment, but I think that was the point. Not everyone goes through a change - but hopefully everyone does learn something as they grow up.
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on August 13, 2009
Joe Pernice's first novel (hopefully more to follow) is an enjoyable read, interesting in many ways but particularly for those who may have grown up in the Northeast and come of age in the 80's and 90's. Though a different character, the narrator is reminiscent of the protagonist in Pernice's "Meat is Murder" novella from the 33 1/3 series (also an excellent read by the way). Two story lines in 'It Feels So Good When I Stop" flip flop between two different times in the narrator's life - his post-college years in Amherst and NYC with his girlfriend/wife and slightly later on when the narrator debunks to Cape Cod after their break up. For myself, I thought Pernice captured that time in life perfectly when one is directionless and slowly & gingerly feeling one's way along to an uncertain future. He does this with humor and characters we all could come across. I'd be interested in a followup novel to see where the main character goes in life. I recommend this book for a good read. And you might as well pick up "Meat as Murder" at the same time and get the free shipping.
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on March 2, 2012
Only read this book because of Hornby's quote. He must be a great friend to stand up for this. Because the TV Show "Two Broke Girls" is more accurate and entertaining than this. I live in Park Slope, where the made for TV Jocelyn resides. Usually Brooklynites are very proud and supportive of any story that mentions here. Wasnt the case for me here. The dialogue reads like your typical transplant, upset the city isn't like HBO makes it out to be.

Ergo, I'll second darryl_x's review. It reminds me of the quote "we sing things that are too stupid to say". Obviously the author disagrees. These are a collection of rejected lyrics passed off as a story.

20 pages in, there is no plot, just some ramblings' of a temporary Williamsburg trust fund kid. The main narrator talks to hear himself, not so much to inform or engage. Fair enough, but at least make it entertaining. Sadly the most interesting pages were the first two. Then you get screwed for trusting the author. Amateur mistake.
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on February 28, 2010
I loved this book. I really did. Usually when I read books featuring characters who can't seem to commit, hold a job or carry on any successful relationship, they tend to be as disappointing as I'd imagine the characters are to their friends and family. But this book really resonated for me. The author, Joe Pernice, is really talented--he and his brother have a band, the Pernice Brothers, and he's a great songwriter as well.

The narrator of this book (you never learn his name, and while I thought that would annoy me, it didn't) has just had yet another break-up with his girlfriend/wife, so he has fled to Cape Cod. In between trying to get back in touch with her, he starts taking care of his young nephew, and builds a bond with Marie, a woman who lives down the street from where he's staying who has issues of her own. The story switches between the current time and the start of the narrator's relationship with his wife. I really enjoyed the story, the characters, everything, except the ending. It was a bit abrupt and left the story feeling unfinished, so maybe that's a sign that Pernice will revisit this story again soon.
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on December 23, 2009
This book accurately captures a time (mid-90s) and place (New England) and the characters who hang around the periphery of the Boston music scene. Though I was living in Baltimore at the time, I am roughly the same age as the unnamed narrator and I recognized many of the characters weak attempts to deal with their overextended adolescence. Few characters are very likable on the surface but Pernice (a big fan of the simile apparently) writes skillfully and truthfully enough to make you care anyway. This a darkly funny character study with a very slight plot. I like a slight plot, but I could've used just a little more of an arc. That's about my only criticism. Recommended to all but highly recommended to anyone in their late 30s/early 40s who "enjoyed" their own overextended adolescence in the north eastern United States around this time-that goes double if you were specifically in the Boston area.
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on December 24, 2009
I have been listening to The Pernice Brothers' music for about 8 years now and was excited to hear that Joe P was working on a novel. What could the genius behind such amazing tunes as "Crestfallen" and "PCH One" have to say that couldn't be said in one of his signature 3 and half minute songs I wondered? Could it even be good? I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed "It feels so good." It was everything I had hoped it would be and more--a Pernice Brother's song, only longer and even more enjoyable! If you're looking for quirky characters, brilliant turns of phrase, gentle humor, languid, enviable, slackerness, and a never ending pursuit for authentic love, then look no further.
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on October 20, 2015
This book made me laugh and cry. Pernice is really an amazing writer (on top of being a great poet and musician)
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on September 3, 2009
Joe Pernice is a great songwriter but how will he fare with his first full length novel ? The answer to that is brilliantly.

We join Pernices unnamed wannabe musician narrator in 1996 as he is abandoning his three day old marriage to Jocelyn & hiding out at his sisters place in Cape Cod. Here we meet his soon to be ex brother-in-law James, toddler nephew Roy & neighbour Marie among others. There is no real plot here - his & Jocelyns college courtship unfolds randomly in flashback, he babysits Roy & in turn starts a friendship with Marie, who has a past of her own. Characters come & go (including a cameo from Lou Barlow, brilliant) , sometimes only briefly, but the attention to detail is superb & the dialogue just perfect. Music references abound, too & add to the overall atmosphere & realistic backdrop. Whether the narrator himself is likeable or not passed me by as I sat back & enjoyed all these elements coming together much as he tends to let things wash over him & take control. Great dialogue, great characters & wicked sense of humour make this a refreshing & enjoyable read. Much like Joes' music this is short, bittersweet & beautiful.

If a novel by a musician fills you with as much enthusiasm as a music CD by a soap star or actor does me then throw those misgivings aside, buy this & enjoy. Oh & will some-one please bring Joe or the Pernice Brothers over to the UK again - it's been way too long.
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on June 25, 2016
Hilarious and sad.
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