Monday, July 9, 2007

How to Talk to a Widower

Title: How to Talk to a Widower
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Publisher: Orion

It has been a long time since a book made me laugh out loud but Jonathan Tropper’s hilarious new novel, How to Talk to a Widower did just that – repeatedly.

On the surface of it however, Doug Parker’s life does not seem like the kind of thing that would induce a grown woman to fits of laughter. His gorgeous older wife Hailey is dead in an airline accident, leaving him a widower at 29 and by default, a sometime step dad to her wayward 15 year old son Russ. One year on and Doug is still deeply grieving: albeit through a haze of Jack Daniels and self depreciating wit.

His family are determined to pull him out of the mire he has created for himself and ultimately start dating again. Only they have problems off their own: Doug’s irresponsible, erratic twin sister Claire announces she is pregnant, leaves her wealthy husband and sets up camp in Doug’s spare room while his manic little sister Debbie is demanding the perfect wedding as she prepares to marry Doug’s former best friend – who she just happened to meet at Hailey’s funeral.

Jonathan Tropper infuses this comedy of errors story which liberal doses of wicked humour, lust, self pity, sex and more than a few flying fists as his characters lurches from disaster to disaster. But there are also some very tender, emotional moments as Doug awakens from his alcohol and grief stupor to reconnect with his family, friends and the very troubled Russ.

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper is a supreme dark comedic read that is also in turns clever and poignant, sexy and smart. Doug, the slacker hero at its heart will have you in turns both laughing and crying along with him.

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