Joe Speedboat

Joe Speedboat

3.0 1
by Tommy Wieringa
     
 

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A sparkling coming-of-age novel that has sold over 300,000 copies in Holland, in which the inhabitants of a sleepy rural town are awakened by the arrival of a kinetic young visionary, Joe Speedboat.

After a farming accident plunges him into a coma for six months, Frankie Hermans wakes up to discover that he’s paralyzed and mute. Bound to a wheelchair,

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Overview

A sparkling coming-of-age novel that has sold over 300,000 copies in Holland, in which the inhabitants of a sleepy rural town are awakened by the arrival of a kinetic young visionary, Joe Speedboat.

After a farming accident plunges him into a coma for six months, Frankie Hermans wakes up to discover that he’s paralyzed and mute. Bound to a wheelchair, Frankie struggles to adjust to a life where he must rely on others to complete even the simplest tasks. The only body part he can control is his right arm, which he uses obsessively to record the details of daily life in his town.

But when he meets Joe—a boy who blazed into town like a meteor while Frankie slept—everything changes. Joe is a centrifugal force, both magician and daredevil, and he alone sees potential strength in Frankie’s handicaps. With Joe’s help, Frankie’s arm will be used for more that just writing: as a champion arm-wrestler, Frankie will be powerful enough to win back his friends, and maybe even woo P. J., the girl who has them all in a tailspin.
Alive with the profundities of adolescence, Joe Speedboat is the supersonic story of an unlikely alliance and a lightning-quick dash to

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[Joe Speedboat] offers a rewarding journey into the unfamiliar. It is also witty, thoughtful and surprisingly tender as Frankie comes to realize that he has got a life to live that is still well worth the living.”—The Independent

“[An] offbeat story of a group of boys searching for meaning . . . This work conjures John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany but with a lighter touch.”—Library Journal

“Winsome . . . Wieringa’s protagonist, Frankie, has an attitude attune to Holden Caulfield, without the anxiety and the quirks. . . . [Frankie’s] unwavering and confident . . . in-your-face voice . . . applies literature to life, lyrically, with an attention to minutiae. . . . Charismatic, intelligent, he’s the kinetic energy that thrusts the narrative forward.”—Bookslut

Library Journal
Set in a Dutch farming community, this is the offbeat story of a group of boys searching for meaning. Our narrator, Frankie, has had a freak accident and was in a coma for 220 days; now he is confined to a wheelchair, with one good arm and a developing ability to write again. Hell-raiser Joe Speedboat, who arrived in town while Frankie was in the coma, has befriended the other boys. As they grow older, they have wild adventures that sometimes include their chair-bound buddy. Joe inspires Frankie to make use of his particular talents, providing a means for Frankie to employ his warrior creed (he's a follower of the samurai philosophy of Miyamoto Musashi). But when they both fall for the same young woman, P.J., it appears that their friendship is doomed. In the end, Joe is oddly more fragile than the disabled Frankie, though his insight into P.J. gives him an advantage. VERDICT Despite a somewhat pat ending and exclusively male viewpoint, the strength of the wacky characters and situations prevails. This work conjures John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany but with a lighter touch and is recommended accordingly.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA
Publishers Weekly
The first novel by prize-winning Dutch author Wieringa to be translated into English is a brilliant coming-of-age story with an outlandish twist: Frankie, the narrator, is paralyzed but for his right arm and unable to speak after a farming accident. But when wild child Joe Speedboat shows up in Frankie’s sleepy town, he gives Frankie a new lease on life. Together the boys navigate young adulthood, with crippled Frankie chronicling Joe’s adventures. Joe blows up a toilet at their school. He builds an airplane and takes Frankie along for the ride. Joe trains Frankie to become an arm wrestler with his one good arm, and Frankie makes a name for himself as a fierce competitor. It comes as no surprise that Frankie and Joe love the same girl, and while Joe is away on a quest to find his mother’s missing boyfriend, she shows Frankie that, in her own way, she loves them both. There are more coming-of-age novels than dikes in Holland, but this wonderfully weird novel is not one to miss. (Apr.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802170729
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/08/2010
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

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