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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and entertaining
Plan B is a novel about friendship. It's about five 30-something friends struggling with work, romance and life. But the story focuses more on Jack, a famous Hollywood actor and cocaine addict. Ben (the narrator), Lindsey, Chuck and Alison try to help Jack face his demon by way of intervention. In denial, Jack refuses to get help. Desperate, the friends try Plan B:...
Published on May 18, 2000 by CoffeeGurl

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Drawing Board
I am willing to give Jon Tropper a pass for this novel, which was his first. After reading his more recent novels first, I found this one to be somewhat flat. The comparisons to the televison show Friends seem to fall short. Tropper himself compares the group in the Novel to "St. Elmo's Fire." I did not like that movie either. The book felt like "St. Elmo's Fire"...
Published on October 2, 2010 by JMack


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and entertaining, May 18, 2000
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Hardcover)
Plan B is a novel about friendship. It's about five 30-something friends struggling with work, romance and life. But the story focuses more on Jack, a famous Hollywood actor and cocaine addict. Ben (the narrator), Lindsey, Chuck and Alison try to help Jack face his demon by way of intervention. In denial, Jack refuses to get help. Desperate, the friends try Plan B: imprisoning Jack in a house in the country until the period of withdrawal passes. While they try to help their friend, they face their own demons and try to improve their lives.
The narration is nicely done and the comic timing is precise. I think that Jonathan Tropper could turn this into a movie (this book begs for a script). A nice read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real World meets Fiction, May 22, 2000
By 
Amazon Customer (Rancho Santa Margarita, ca, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Hardcover)
In accordance with some of the other reviews posted about Plan B, this book deserves attention as well as more than 5 stars.
Plan B has a beautiful ensemble of main characters that are really cohesive together, and are written in such a believable way to 'real life' its incredible. Each character shines in their own way, and you'll see a bit of your friends and yourself in everyone.
The story centers about four 30 something friends in trying to save a fifth friend from his own destruction, and in doing so discover more about themselves and each other despite being best friends over all these years. What makes this novel so great is the strength of the character's dialogue...I have had these conversations so many times myself, and had the same introspections that the main character Ben reflects upon.
Mixed in this tale that spans just a few short weeks is a great sense of humor (much like Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity' & 'About A Boy'), all too real emotion and self-worth, quirky situations, and a non-stop pace. Every chapter left me begging for more, and I'd really like to see a sequel. This is begging to be made into a TV mini-series or movie.
Also, as a person who just turned 30 myself, the references to everything 80's and late 70's is a fun walk down nostalgia lane. There are things discussed within the chapters that brought a smile to my face as I too remember certain songs, shows, events, etc... that were part of my childhood and how I reacted to them in my life.
In a nutshell, I think this novel perfectly captures Generation X as we enter our 30's. Great job!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish there were more than five stars!, March 23, 2000
By 
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Hardcover)
I can't remember the last time I so enjoyed a book. The story, about a group of friends who kidnap one of their crowd to get him off drugs, was gripping, and the fact that the friend was a movie star just added some fun complications along the way. Each of the characters here reminded me of one of my friends, and the author is to be commended for truly isolating the various quirks, fears, and personalities that are so prevalent in our generation (I'm forty-one, but I think i still qualify). The story is told by Ben, who is both ironic and sincere, somewhat depressed, but hysterically funny as he tries to make sense of his failures at age thirty and come up with a new plan (hence the title) to make his life more meaningful.
Many of the reviews here talk about how this will definitely be a movie. I can see their point, but I don't think a movie can capture the compelling tone of the narrative, which is what really holds this whole story together.
All in all, a fun, light read that you will absolutely enjoy and not soon forget.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Chill For The Year 2000, June 15, 2000
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Hardcover)
"Plan B" has movie script written all over it. As other reviews have said, it's clear that this book could be made into a movie....but, the question is, "A good movie?" I would hate to see this wonderfully warm, creative, and well written debut novel get the "movie make-over hack." The characters are interesting, multi dimensional, and you really are concerned about them and the fate they will face. I found this book to be very enjoyable and has a lot of postive qualities. This author has a lot of talent and it's clear he has a way with characterization and storytelling. A really nice read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At least a B-plus, November 19, 2001
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Paperback)
Jonathan Tropper is a new name in fiction with a ton of potential, apparently. I began to read this book, thinking...A bunch of whining 30 yr. olds? Can a forty-something boomer relate to this at all? The truth is, you don't have to be thirty to say s**t! It happens again at forty, and I suppose, anytime you hit a milestone. Tropper captures authentic emotions and likable characters, with a couple of caricatures thrown in for laughs. Ben, the protaganist, and his four college friends, hatch a half-baked and misguided plan to save their Hollywood friend from himself and cocaine. What results is a madcapcaper with some serious and thought-provoking moments, esp. where they all admit to their real motivations behind their participation in the plan. Chuck, the skirt chasing statutory rapist and resident physician, gets to make the wiittiest comments and even a great "guy"joke that even my husband appreciated.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tropper Gets it Right...A terrific and breezy read, February 23, 2002
By 
Robert Wellen (CHICAGO, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Paperback)
A lot of reviews of have mentioned how much this book talks aboutpop culture...some see it as a positive and others as a negative. I was drawn to this book for two reasons. 1) The cover says "Thirty ..." (which is funny) 2)The back of the book which speaks of, well, all the pop culture references. I'm sucker for that stuff I guess. Everything from Three's Company to Billy Joel (whose lyrics play a role--a first in a novel I've seen)is in there. The more astute among you may find parts formulaic. Yet, that really didn't bother me. Look at what sells in this genre of fiction today--all these books about plucky single ladies from London. If you are touched by a book, isn't that all that matters?
Tropper gets the details right. I'm closing in on 30 and share many of the feelings as our narrator, Ben. Trouble letting go of the past, fear of the future, etc. The music of 1980s, Star Wars, Seinfeld...these things were part of our lives and Tropper doesn't put them in to be cute. He puts them in because people actually look at life through the prism of these things. Tropper mentions an idea that I had discussed with my own friends (isn't it cool when you see your ideas validated by a good writer?)--the idea that Gen X is unified by it's pop culture. Many of us were.
I cared deeply about these characters and found myself reading 200 pages in one day just to see what happened. The plot, as Booklist says, is a bit like The Big Chill. And the Jack-Alison relationship bears an uncanny resemblance to the Rob Lowe-Mare Winningham relationship in St. Elmo's Fire. Except that the Alison character is far more appealing than the Mare Winnigham character (and Jack more appealing than Rob Lowe--in anything). Some of the events in the book do fit together a bit too perfectly, but it is fiction. And in the big picture, it was a book that gets it right. In fact, Tropper writes a great first novel. Now, why I can't meet a Lindsey?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Drawing Board, October 2, 2010
By 
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Paperback)
I am willing to give Jon Tropper a pass for this novel, which was his first. After reading his more recent novels first, I found this one to be somewhat flat. The comparisons to the televison show Friends seem to fall short. Tropper himself compares the group in the Novel to "St. Elmo's Fire." I did not like that movie either. The book felt like "St. Elmo's Fire" with a few switches in the plot.

Thirty is the recommended point in your life when you can feel incomplete if you have yet to accomplish anything. This is the feeling that plagues the characters despite a famous actor and doctor bring among them. None are married or have children. Jack, the least cohesive member of the group has become as famous for his cocaine habit as for his movies. The other four members of the group attempt an intervention that includes drugging and kidnapping Jack before ultimately imprisoning him.

The situations lead to some cheap laughs, but nothing on par with Tropper's future books. With small town deputy, a crooked Hollywood agent, and Fox News as sources of humor, the laughs seems destined to fall flat. Pop cultural references that are dropped lie a cultural Tourette's Syndrome cause the plot meander at times. Entire chapter could have met their fate on the editting room floor. In the big picture, this makes the surprise at the end seem random.

I loved Tropper's other books particularly "This is Where I Leave You" and "Everything Changes". In his first book, Tropper's talents were still raw and forming. If this is your first Tropper book, you may not read another.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thirty...., June 27, 2007
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Paperback)
As someone who's approaching thirty myself, I picked up this book because 1) it looked funny and 2) I need to laugh about turning thirty so I don't freak out. Because, like the narrator, I still feel like nineteen wasn't so long ago.
However, aside from a few witty observations about what it means to actually be thirty (my favorite was the one about friends being like bone mass, even though I don't think it's true at all), I didn't much care for the book. It's a story of friendship--four friends, whose lives are pretty much stagnant, have decided to stage an intervention to reclaim their fifth friend, a coke-addicted movie star. The problem is not so much the implausible plot as the characters themselves. I didn't really care much about any of them--except the poor kid next door, Jeremy. They were all so self-absorbed, so wrapped up in...well, I'm not sure what they were wrapped up in, unless it was a hopeless aspiration to recapture their lost youth. And Ben keeps waxing lyrical about how talking to Jeremy makes him feel like a grown-up...I just want to shake him. News Flash, Ben: You are an adult, and have been one for about nine years! Get over yourself. Find something you can be passionate about. Then DO it, and stop whining!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh New Voice!, February 1, 2000
By 
Booknut_56 (Hackensack, NJ) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Hardcover)
The rapid-fire dialogue and witty narration alone make this book a worthwhile read. Add to that the fun story-line involving the kidnapping of a movie star and hiding him in small-town USA, five old college chums shacking up to detox their addicted friend, entanglements with the locals and the local police dept., and you have a comical, gripping novel that you can't put down. I was impressed with the witty, yet simple narration, and enjoyed the pop culture references, being only slightly older than the characters involved. This is the type of books that critics generally turn their noses up at for being too mainstream, but it is wonderfully entertaining, and should find a large audience. I look forward to Mr. Troper's future novels.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fun read!, June 7, 2001
By 
Sunny16 (Astoria, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Plan B: A Novel (Paperback)
A friend of mine got me this book for m 30th birthday, and I couldn't put it down. I can't believe how accurate it was. So many of Ben's feelings about turning 30 mirror my own - disappointment at the fact that you aren't where you thought you would be at this age; fear of drifting apart from your dearest friends, etc. This book deals with all of those issues and more. I was also very touched by the passages with Ben and Jeremy, the nine year old who has just lost his father. How often do you read about a single guy interacting with and caring about a young boy he's not related to?
Tropper got a lot of other points right as well, right down to the passage about office toys and toys in general. Yes, it is unbecoming for a 30-year-old to buy a Darth Vader mask, but that's hard to remember when you keep forgetting you're 30. I found the references to Star Wars and 80's music to be quite natural and not jarring or overabundant at all. These are common points of reference for our generation and they definitely fit in here.
The bottom line is that now that I have finished reading the book, the thing I remember the most is that wistful feeling that drove the book. I can't remember the last time I felt such empathy towards a male character, and I felt it because Ben's experience as a 30 newbie is universal.
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Plan B: A Novel
Plan B: A Novel by Jonathan Tropper
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