Bad Haircut

Perrotta, Tom. Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies. New York: Berkey Books, 1994.

Reason read: June is short story month.

Comprised of ten short stories:

  • The Wiener Man – Your past is never far behind you. A mother connects with an old friend.
  • Thirteen – Coming of age is terrible when trying to help a best friend get the girl.
  • Race Riot – Which side are you on? Racial tensions and peer pressure and a bad combination.
  • Snowman – revenge is not as sweet as you think.
  • Forgiveness – standing for the flag is a choice.
  • A Bill Floyd Christmas – Bill loses his wife and latches on to another family to fill the void.
  • You Start to Live – take chances in life.
  • The Jane Pasco Fan Club – Dating in high school can be dangerous.
  • Just the Way We Were – prom memories.
  • Wild Kingdom – sometimes people can be animals.

Lines I liked: “The world was a still as a photograph” (p 61) and “She had that voice special tone of voice that she only used when she had company,” (p 119).

Author fact: Perrotta is from New Jersey.

Book trivia: all of the short stories are linked and are in chronological order.

Setlist: “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” The Carpenters, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Donny Osmond, Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, a couple of Jim Croce songs, “I’ve got a Name” and “Operator.”

Nancy said: Pearl called Bad Haircut “heartfelt yet unsentimental.”

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Near Novels: Linked Short Stories” (p 175).


Wishbones

Perrotta, Tom. The Wishbones. New York: Berkely Books, 1998.

Reason read: The movie starring Adam Sandler, “the Wedding Singer” was released in February.

Dave Raymond is thirty-one years old and still living with his parents in suburban New Jersey, but then again, so is his on and off girlfriend of fifteen years, Julie. They find living with their parents a drag, especially when they need to sneak around to have sex but given the circumstances, who wouldn’t at that age? For Julie, living with the ‘rents is a matter of convenience but for Dave it is a necessity in order to be a New York City courier by day and a wedding band musician on the weekends. The courier job is just to get him by. Playing guitar with the Wishbones is all he has ever known. So what is it that makes him upset this whole little world by announcing to Julie one night “let’s get married”? Immediately he wants to stuff the words back in his mouth and pretend no such pronouncement passed his lips. Maybe that’s why he starts an affair with an edgy Brooklyn poet named Gretchen. As the wedding draws near Dave is at a crossroad in his life and for the first time ever, he needs to make a mature decision.

As an aside, I found it curious that the band didn’t have a lead guitar player. Bass, sax, drummer, accordion, keyboards… I guess Dave was supposed to act as lead along with backing vocals?

Silly humor to quote, “Margaret was a formally pleasant person whose personality had been ruined by constant dieting” (p 61).

Author fact: Perrotta knows his music. I loved all the references to different bands. Especially this one, “You couldn’t really imagine Chrissie Hynde or Natalie Merchant dancing around in twelve different hats” (p 34).

Book trivia: this could have been a movie.

Nancy said: Pearl lists The Wishbones as a first novel she was delighted to have read (Book Lust p 88) and she just describes the plot in More Book Lust.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “First Novels” (p 88). Also, in More Book Lust in the chapter called “Jersey Guys and Gals” (p 130).