Salon called author Tom Perrotta's latest book, "Joe College," "lovable, resonant and memorable." Perrotta's books often are. His novel "Election," about an irksome goody-goody and a frustrated model teacher, became a hilarious film starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. Perrotta's other books include "The Wishbones" and "Bad Haircut."
Perrotta, who teaches writing at Harvard, earned his bachelor's degree at Yale, which is the setting for "Joe College." It's there that we meet Danny, the son of a New Jersey lunch-truck driver, whose smarts get him to Yale, but whose small-town roots keep him from truly fitting in. Just when he starts to feel at home and strike a balance between his two worlds, a back-home summer romance comes back to haunt him. Not only that, but his father's mob-world competitors threaten his family's livelihood and maybe even his own life.
In this chapter from "Joe College" Danny recalls a dangerous run-in with a high school bully named Mark "Psycho Midget" Barnhouse.