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Plan B: A Novel Paperback – May 11, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title of Tropper's debut novel refers to the madcap plot at its center, and also to one of the book's primary themes--that life rarely works according to plan. Nobody knows this better than Ben, the narrator, who wants to be a novelist, but finds himself at age 30 stuck in a low-level publishing job in New York City, on the cusp of a sad and bloodless divorce, and envious of his closest college friends: Lindsey, the spirited ex-girlfriend who's always followed her heart; attorney Alison; surgeon Chuck; and movie star Jack Shaw, who earns $13 million a picture. But Jack, it turns out, is also a cocaine addict whose drug-fueled escapades are increasingly finding their way into the tabloids. When an intervention attempt fails, his friends turn to Plan B: they kidnap Jack and keep him captive in the Catskills until he shakes his habit for good. Of course, holding a mega-celebrity against his will is no simple matter, and complications abound. Jack turns violent, then vanishes, the local-yokel sheriff's department starts poking around and soon enough the FBI and the media are involved. Meanwhile, the remaining friends are forging new bonds (platonic and otherwise) and confronting encroaching fears of aging. Despite Ben's exaggerated Gen-X voice--by turns jaded and facile, glib and bleak--the picaresque plot is diverting in a sitcom kind of way. The characters are unlikely as friends but entertaining as Friends, and Tropper keeps the story moving at a brisk pace with crackling TV dialogue. Agent, Simon Lipskar.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The background music is decidedly not Marvin Gaye but the tone is definitely The Big Chill. Four college friends launch an unusual reunion in New York City when they kidnap a drug-addicted friend. The plan, resorted to when Plan A failed, is to get their good friend and now movie star Jack Shaw to come clean long enough to get his life back on track. Given that life is not exactly on track for any of them, it is no surprise when things go awry. Coming together--and almost falling apart--give each of them a chance to recapture or let go of dreams and move on. There is Chuck, comic relief and surgeon-to-be; Alison, bright young lawyer trapped in unrequited love; Lindsey, former teacher, now queen of the temps; and Ben, the narrator, a would-be-writer without a story. Funny, sweet, and sometimes bitter, this first novel should be a popular read among twentysomethings about to turn 30. Recommended for public libraries.
-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Second St. Martin's Griffin Edition edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312645074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312645076
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Tropper is the author of How to Talk to a Widower, Everything Changes, The Book of Joe, and Plan B. He lives with his family in Westchester, New York, where he teaches writing at Manhattanville College.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on May 18, 2000
Format: 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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jayson Olson on May 22, 2000
Format: 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 By B.J. Hopper on March 23, 2000
Format: 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 By Caroline P. Hampton on June 15, 2000
Format: 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Houston on June 27, 2007
Format: 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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