One Last Thing Before I Go- by Jonathan Tropper(4 out of 5)

I HAD to give Tropper a 4, although this is not my favorite book by him. The last two both had me laughing aloud and relentlessly pursuing the pages to get to the finish. This novel, unfortunately, did not have that lure for me. This one was quite a big more melancholic than his other novels. It was, however, still funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all at once. And it’s Tropper, who for fuck’s sake, is one of my favorite modern day authors. Along with the seldomly-writing(sadly) Adam Davies and the non-fictionally geared Nick Hornby(Still love him, just in a different light than his fiction), there aren’t many authors that I jump for joy upon hearing a release is imminent. Mr. Tropper is one of those authors for me.

Drew Silver is the 44-year old former drummer of The Bent Daisies, a long defunct band that had one massive hit that still gets recognition, just not fame and fortune, or little more than courteous regard by nostalgia fans. Silver has let his life go down one rapidly overflowing toilet. He had little to no relationship with his college-bound daughter- until she reveals she’s pregnant. He’s still mourning the death of his marriage, although it bit the dust over seven years ago. He hangs out with other members of the band and sad-sacks who are in the same spin cycle of mid-life failure that Silver is now in. He has a distant-by-choice relationship with his parents, and he openly calls his little brother a dick and a failure. Yet- there’s something endearing about Silver, something little shread of self-contempt that makes you feel sorry for him and his sorry life. Things go from bad to worse when Silver passes out and wakes up in the hospital, told he has an aortic dissection and unless he has risky surgery, he will die. The doctor performing the surgery? Rich, his ex-wife’s current fiance. That sets up another plot doozy. Silver pisses people off more than he had previously, by deciding AGAINST the surgery. His decision is based on the fact that he’s been floating in a piss-bowl of self-loathing and non-living for over ten years, and he doesn’t care to keep going on in that direction. Casey- his daughter- steps in and attempts to take care of him and rebuild their relationship. Casey – in more ways than I can name here- is a chip off the old block. Denise, the ex-wife who’s having serious second thoughts about her upcoming nuptials amid a wave of sorrow about Silver’s fate, is another great character. Jack, Silver’s constant troublemaking best friend, is a great character(If they ever made this into a movie, this is a part written for Charlie Sheen). Ruben, Silver’s father and a prominent rabbi, starts to get together with him and they attend funerals, bar mitzvahs, anything with a pulse, in an attempt for Ruben to get through to his son how important that he live his life- including getting the surgery. This book is a lot about second chances, the ever spinning dial of mortality, re-examining your life, and those who are in your life, whether they like you, or hate you, until you leave this earth. It sounds like a bummer of a novel, but I assure you, it’s not. If it’s anything, it’s smartly written and sarcastic, with threads of real, human life going on through the pages.  A book that will have you thinking long after you put it down.

~ by generationgbooks on September 10, 2012.

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