One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

One Last Thing Before I Go by
Hardcover, 324 pages
One Last Thing Before I Go
Rating: 9/10


You couldn't really say that Silver's life is in a downward spiral - he's been firmly lodged at rock bottom since his one-hit-wonder band broke up and his wife left him over seven years ago. He lives in an apartment complex for depressed divorced men and his daughter regards him with a patient expectation of disappointment, so maybe it's not a big surprise when he finds himself opening his mouth to reject life-saving surgery. Instead, he decides to devote his remaining time to helping his daughter Casey through a potentially life-altering decision, so at least he'll do one good thing for her before he dies.

Reason for Reading

I laughed a lot reading This is Where I Leave You a year or two ago.

Why you should read this book

Tropper has a gift for making sad-sack, down-and-out characters hilarious but still sympathetic (or for enough of the time to be able to endure their depravity, anyway). Silver is absolutely a guy who has brought everything on himself, but he's still got this longing to set things right that makes you cheer for him even as you're shaking your head. In case he's not messing up his life enough, his health problems have broken down the censor between his mouth and brain, leaving things spilling out of him that he thought he was only thinking, to both horrifyingly funny and endearing effect. The book benefits by being funny in several ways - Tropper sets up physical, situational comedy very well, and also graces his characters with a razor-sharp wit as they call each other out on their ridiculous and awful behaviour. Sprinkled with hope for something better, One Last Thing Before I Go is another successful and hilarious look at a family come undone.

Why you should avoid this book

It takes that certain black humour to see what's so funny about Silver and his situations, but you know what they say - you laugh so you don't cry. Probably my only half-hearted 'complaint' is there isn't one scene that stands out as much as the one with the cake in This is Where I Leave You, but not everything can make you laugh for three days.

Opening Paragraph

This is Tuesday, just under three weeks before his wife will be getting married, and a few days before Silver will tentatively decide that life isn't necessarily worth living when you've been doing it as poorly as he has. It is seven years and four months or so since Denise divorced him for a host of valid reasons, and roughly eight years since his band, the Bent Daisies, released its only album and became rock stars overnight on the strength of their solitary hit, 'Rest in Pieces.' For one blessed summer it seemed as if the entire world was singing that song. And then they weren't, and then he couldn't get arrested - although, actually, Silver did get arrested twice; one DUI and once for solicitation, and he would tell you about it if he could, but he was, at best, fuzzy about the details back then, and now it's like an oral history long forgotten[...]

Fabulous quotes

It's Sunday evening, and Sad Todd looks like something so much more than exhausted. He is unshaven, unkempt, and boderline suicidal. He has brought the twins down to the lobby well in advance of their mandated pickup time, probably because they've already laid waste to his apartment and he didn't know what else to do.
'This could be the day that Sad Todd finally snaps,' Jack says, his voice conveying that unique mixture of sympathy and contempt they all feel for one another here.
'Someone should buy that man a coke habit,' Oliver says, nodding sadly.
'Were you really going to have sex with that girl?'
'It was a strong possibility. She gave me this pill.'
'So you were being date raped? Is that your story?'
'I don't need a story. We were two adults.'
'It doesn't go by cumulative age, you know.'

Also by

This is Where I Leave You; Plan B; The Book of Joe; Everything Changes; How to Talk to a Widower.

Fun Tidbit

Tropper is co-creator of the show Banshee, which is scheduled to appear on HBO in 2013.

Would I read more by ?

I'll check out future books, but might not get to older ones without recommendations (hint, hint).

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