[Readers beware; this is not a formal review. I only wish to dwell upon how I have been impacted by this book as it pushed me to self introspect.]
Tom Perrotta’s The Wishbones did not go down well with me at the beginning. It seemed slow and the characters weren’t too charming. It then dawned on me the entire purpose of The Sunday Book Club’s monthly challenge. This book tried my ability to read any genre, my capacity to delve into a not-so-appealing circumstance and chart through unknown territory. (Thank you guys, this did seem like a healthy challenge. Given an option, I would probably never have picked up such a genre.)
The book, in many ways than one, seems to reflect a bit of what life may hold for us. It made me come face to face with a fact that I used to ignore, a fear of mediocrity. As exemplified by the main protagonist, Dave, it brings the truth home real hard. Here’s my favourite excerpt:
‘Dave wasn’t there yet. He didn’t think he’d ever be. This knowledge didn’t torment him; it was just a fact he lived with; that greatness would always be out of reach, that he was what he was – a pretty good guitar player, another face in the crowd, a guy who could do a mean fucking imitation of Carlos Santana.’
Coming across this paragraph was a moment of reckoning for me; personally, since I live in the doldrums, never pushing myself too hard. It lays bare a lot of inadequacies in me, as it did in Dave; though he settled for it.
Also, this book rings true on another level, a level where I refuse to let go of my immaturity and start behaving like a real adult. I’m 25 and finding myself inadequate to retain my idiocy in the real world, managing my imaginative fantasies and finding them dashed to dust. I ‘hope’ the time does not come where I too must decide like Dave to let go of my hidden world and live in the present.
For a person caught between a rock and a hard place, mostly all because of Dave’s action or inaction, Tom Perrotta brings out the harsh reality that exists. Life isn’t that rosy or brilliant. The world does not owe us anything just because we exist, and sometimes, letting go of dreams and desires is a step towards rationality.
Artie, the band’s manager, is a character I really warmed up to. Even though the band members weren’t quite fond of him, he was truly dedicated to his band. He would have moved mountains for them, if he could. His intentions were in the right place, and I love him for that.
But despite every thing, I hope I can retain my wishbone, (akin to a funny bone, I guess), and hope I can stand up for what they represent.