Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

5 Star

Doug Parker has been a widow for just over a year. Not only trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife of two years, he struggles with his eccentric family, the troubled teenage son his wife left behind, and most days can barely leave his house. He still has neighbourhood housewives dropping by and bringing food, some of them lingering expectantly, and when his twin sister decides it's time for him to get back out there the results are hilarious and melancholy. 

Lydia - 5 Star

How to Talk to a Widower was equal parts hilarious, sentimental and touching. I loved it all, laughing out loud frequently during Doug's escapades, and grew emotional during his memories and depiction of life without his wife.

I couldn't wait to see how he'd extract himself out of situations and was routing for him to pull his life together as the story moved along at a rapid pace. I was absorbed after a few short pages and whipped through this novel in a few days and although told through narrative incorporated with flashbacks, his articles, emails, and an odd description of a date, it still managed to flow smoothly. Even the flashbacks didn't seem too intrusive (although I'm still not a huge fan of them).  

The ensemble cast was quirky, realistically flawed and impeccably well defined. I loved the father's character and observing their relationship held some of my favourite moments in this well crafted tale. 

Having been the first Jonathan Tropper novel I've read, I will definitely seek his books out in the future as well as any of his past publications. If they're anything like How to Talk to a Widower, I can't wait to read them all!

Kathryn - 5 Star

I almost stopped reading How to Talk to a Widower half way through because I found it so heartbreaking that I was constantly looking for tissues.  Tropper created such a sympathetic character that I found it hard to separate my thoughts from the book- Doug seemed to feel like anyone would feel, having lost their spouse so tragically, and it made me grateful and panicky all at the same time.

Now having struggled with my desire to finish the book I pushed through and at about halfway I stopped crying and started really laughing instead. Doug starts to put himself out in the world again by accepting the generous “sex with no strings” offer from a hot neighbour and letting his twin sister set him up with anyone she deems appropriate.  His sister is a welcome addition to the plot and made me laugh. Tropper also helps move Doug into a new phase by giving him the responsibility of his teenage stepson- Russ is dealing with his mother’s death by getting into trouble and seems determined that Doug, and not his biological father, be the one to get him sorted out.

I loved the honest voice Tropper gave us for Doug. I don’t know how well anyone copes with death and everyone is different I suppose, but I saw Doug’s ups and downs as very simply honest and I loved the way in which is was presented to the reader.

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