Monday, May 07, 2007

How to Talk to a Widower

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

Jonathan Tropper gives us a young, slim, sad and beautiful man with angst galore and a wicked grief, guilt and other near-paralyzing issues. Doug Parker is a widower at 29, and after a year of grieving for his wife Hailey, he is resisting pressure from friends and family to move on with his life. Not that he is content. No, he is wallowing in his grief, drunk most days, and living off the casseroles brought by neighborhood housewives. A few years earlier, he was living in the city and hating his dead end job. He never expected to meet a slightly older woman like Hailey, or to have her give him a chance, or to get married and move to the affluent suburb where he now resides in her home. He never expected to be a step-father to a teenage boy. And having adjusted to all of these unexpected changes in his life, he didn't expect Hailey to get on an airplane and never come home.

Doug can't hide out forever. Hailey's son Russ is causing some trouble at school, and Doug's twin sister Claire is causing some trouble at home, and a neighborhood housewife is causing some trouble in bed. On top of this, Doug reenters the dating scene. He just wishes that more women knew HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER.

Internet gossip (from shows that this novel is listed as a movie project in development for 2008, called "After Hailey." I personally think that "How to Talk to a Widower" is much funnier, but what do I know compared to the big Hollywood execs who constantly turn perfectly lovely books into horrid movie adaptations? The novel is written very cinematically, and I could see some of the actions perfectly in my mind. Once, there is even a montage dating scene that perfectly referenced and recognized that all movie-montage dating scenes and at once completely fake and very true-to-life for the person trying to reenter the dating scene in a flurry of setups. Who will they cast though? It would be adorable to put a brother/sister acting pair in the roles of Doug and Claire. I don't think John Cusack can pull off 29 anymore though, although he and Joan would be ideal. Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal spring to mind, but a good casting agent can probably find a better match for the parts.

Could Jonathan Tropper be an American Nick Hornby? We can only hope! I can't wait to go back and read his other two novels - The Book of Joe and Everything Changes - because I have high hopes that his first efforts will be equally delightful. (And by delightful here, I mean humorously sad, sarcastic and weird, and heartbreakingly funny.

This book will be published in mid-July 2007 - I read the ARC. 340 pgs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is what you were doing to avoid cutting the grass :)


7:02 PM

Blogger Lissa said...

Papa, you are so silly! I don't read to avoid mowing my lawn. I knit. or sometimes cook. Or go shopping....

Reading is what I do to avoid all of my OTHER responsibilities!


9:26 PM


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