While the characters may seem recycled from [b:The Book of Joe|46661|The Book of Joe|Jonathan Tropper|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333578207s/46661.jpg|4570662] (or vice-versa, but that's the order I read them in), they are what make Tropper's writing what it is. The self-depricating/pitying writer/narrator, the wise beyond his years high-school "troubled teen," the straight-shooting love interest, and a cast of dysfunctional family members give you a world in which characters are explicitly aware of their own flaws without needing to philosophize about them for pages on end.
That being said, this book also made me laugh out loud several times. At times the family reminded me of the Bluths (Arrested Development
), which is a pretty high compliment as far as I'm concerned. The protagonist, Doug, reflects at one point that "There are some things you can never say out loud, even to yourself, sins of the mind that you can only file away in the hopes of absolution at some later date
" (p.189). These are precisely the thoughts that, when exposited, make Tropper's writing what it is. I'll definitely be reading more of him.