Customer Reviews: My Name Is Joe
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on October 30, 2011
A wonderful book about one man's search for redemption and recognition before he dies. He finds solace and a family when he meets a women and her son.

Stefan Bourque does a great job touching all our emotional buttons. It's very sad but also inspirational and sweet. The pace is slow and meandering, but in a good way, imitating a man's contemplation of what his own death would mean. The characters are realistic and powerful. They each have their weaknesses but try their best to overcome them.

As I've said before, the pace is pretty slow. Bourque spends a lot of time weaving his story together with metaphors and symbolism. Depending on how you like your books, you might have to wait until halfway through the story before you're really hooked. Don't expect all that much action. Bourque focused more of his effort in building his characters and their relationships to each other.

Pro: Believable and strong characters, powerful character relationships, intricate and beautiful descriptions, touching ending

Con: Slow beginning(it depends on the reader whether this is a pro or con), very little action

This is a great book for readers of all ages. Though I should warn you, if you are a younger reader, that there is one or two nude scenes but, uh, nothing naughty happens. Anyway, anyone looking for a deep meaningful introspective read should definitely give this book a shot. The story can only end in one way but you can't help but feel happy for what has been achieved.

Won this book in a giveaway in exchange for a review
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on October 21, 2010
Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that left you questioning life? I know that many of us travel through life with many questions on our mind: What is the point? Am I doing what the right thing? Is there a way for me to be more successful? To name but a few of the questions I am sure flutter through all our brains. After reading "My Name is Joe" I have come to realization that I have been asking the wrong questions. For each of us that question may be different. For me; the question is why is happiness so elusive? "My Name is Joe" puts you on the path. It may only hint at answers but, it definitely asks the hard questions. I have never read a fiction book like this! And neither will you!
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on October 13, 2010
I wasn't sure what to expect when I purchased my copy of My Name Is Joe and to be honest I was a little afraid of it. I don't normally read stories within this genre and especially ones about terminal cancer as I lost my father to the disease when I was a child. Having been a fan of Stefan's other books however, I had to give it a try and I'm VERY glad I did. My Name Is Joe reads as if it had come from someone who'd actually lived through the tragedy which Joe sadly found himself mired in. The emotion which runs through the story is very real - from Joe's anger at his situation to his sadness at missed opportunities. My Name Is Joe is a huge step - one giant leap - in a very different direction for its author and Stefan managed it superbly, flawlessly.
As the book came to a close I found myself sad that it was ending, both for Joe's sake and my own, but still, as I closed the book for the last time I couldn't help but smile. My Name Is Eryk, and I just made a new friend whose name is Joe.

Eryk - Screaming Bugs Reviews
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on November 13, 2012
Like other reviewers, I started out reading this as if it were an autobiography. I quickly realized it was fiction, but it wasn't any less meaningful once I figured that out. It was a short story, and there were parts that I wished had been given more attention. The beginning wasn't one of those parts. I could have skipped the beginning altogether.

Let's face it, the beginning was slow. There were times when it was even tedious. It was all existential and didn't truly seem real or meaningful at all, except in the abstract. The narrator just kind of lost me a lot of times when he was isolated and desolate after the initial diagnosis. Don't get me wrong, there were some interesting moments. The interaction between the narrator and his surgeon just after his surgery was the first time when this story finally hooked me. There was a moment of grace there. But from the beginning of the story until just before and after surgery, it all kind of felt flat. Even after the narrator returns home, there is something like a void of realness. Like the author was just going through the motions of setting up the character for when things actually start to be real and come into focus. The times when the narrator was just ruminating and philosophizing without any interaction with others were often tedious. Maybe that's the point of the story? Interactions, no matter how awkward or unexpected, make our experiences real and meaningful... whereas just having an internal dialogue, no matter how well intended, or how meaningful it is to the narrator, is just... lacking something. Then again, maybe that just leaves the door open for something more meaningful.

After surgery, and finding himself very much alone, at home, and just waiting for death to come, the narrator decides to host a carnival for all the kids (and families) he hoped were in his neighborhood, but whom he had never paid any attention to before. He just took for granted that they were there. And suddenly, he decided to engage with them. That was the beginning of the REALLY interesting part of the story. As he is coming to terms with his own mortality, he meets someone who is also trying to come to terms with mortality, but from the perspective of already having lost someone, or having let someone go. Together, they find that they can both embrace life and the process of dying and letting go in a way that they had never expected, but that is healing for both of them. From there, reading to the end was an emotionally rewarding journey. This is a story of redemption and embracing life and connection. Even if each voice in the story started out all alone, they finally find a connection, and the story ends in a remarkable sense of peace in the conscious act of letting go.
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on June 19, 2012
This book is amazing.. I could see myself in Joe. Although I am not lonely like him, I had been diagnosed last year with breast cancer. I have been treated and am now in the waiting stages. Waiting to see if it stays away or comes back. I have been in a kind of limbo. Not working.. on disability and not really living. This book really woke me up and made me realize that death is as close as one breath away. It also gives hope however. This book is a tear jerker!
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on February 22, 2013
I often choose books to read at random from my kindle--I have over 800, many of them downloaded for free. So many books, so little time--I'd never be able to get through all of them, so sometimes, if I can't decide, literally, I will close my eyes and just click on one at random. "My Name is Joe" was one such choice. I'm pretty sure I got this book for free on my kindle a long time ago because normally, a story like this would not be my thing based on the product description.

But I read it from start to finish and am so glad I did! I thought Bourque did a wonderful job humanizing Joe and the other characters, too. Yes, it's true, as some reviews have said, "not much happens". Books can be successful for a number of reasons--sometimes the plot is amazing, but language sophistication can be lacking. The opposite is true for this book--not a lot of action, but I felt like the emotions the author was able to evoke through language was enough to carry the book. It is a little intense, though. I had to break it up and read it in several sittings!
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on January 30, 2013
Let me get the bad part out of the way. The first half of the book is filled with long prose and introspection. I was just getting ready to move it to the "unfinished" section of my Kindle when the pace picked up and made it more interesting.
Now here is the good part of the review. Joe becomes more likeable after he decides what to do with himself in the short time he has left, and this allows him to make a friend to help him through to the end.
I worked on a terminal cancer ward for a year and I would say that a lot of what Joe goes through is realistic, the regrets, the final longing for it just to be over. This book was OK, at least the second half, but it isn't an author I will be on the lookout for, sorry to say.
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on December 20, 2012
The first half of the book seemed to be autobiographical in nature and not a very good one at that, but that was the setting up of the stage for the turning point and beyond where the main character finally decides to live a meaningful life albeit only a few months not only for himself but for others around him. I could relate to him because contractors are generally not valued as highly as permanent employees and they could easily go through life becoming more and more isolated due to the nature of their jobs (and minimal familial relationships) and not realize they haven't ever truly lived. Joe finally had a chance for real living even if only for a few months. When I finally put this book down, I couldn't get it out of my mind and had to write a review for it.
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on September 25, 2012
When I first started to read this book I was concerned that it was going to be a sad and miserable novel. I actually stopped reading it for a while, but then I decided that I needed to persevere with it. I was so glad I did. My Name Is Joe is very well written and unfolds a story line that pulls you in and holds your attention. I initially found Joe to be an awkward character, but as his relationship evolves with the young woman he befriends he matures into a compassionate and loving man. Thought provoking and endearing, this novel is well worth reading.
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on February 16, 2015
Currently, I'm caught up in the emotion this book provoked. I won't go too in depth as I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say be prepared for an emotional ride. How can you be so heartbroken and elated all in the same moment?

Stefan Bourque has a beautiful way with words that will make you think about your life and how you are making it count and also how you want to be remembered when your time on this earth is done.

Great read!
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