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How To Talk To A Widower Hardcover – 26 Apr 2007
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It's a wise-cracking, darkly comic tale, yet beneath its raucous plot lies a heartfelt meditation on love and loss. (DAILY MAIL)
Well written lad-lit with a distinct American twang (Henry Sutton Daily Mirror)
this is romantic and schmaltxy in the best sense... it is consistently witty, often insightful and full of strong and engaging characters. (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A stunning novel of love, loss, laughter and too much bourbon from the author of THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
This book means so much to me, it's absolutely my favourite book I've ever read. I recommend this book to every single person who asks for a recommendation and I totally recommend buying it if you're thinking about it.
Beautifully written and the characters are the most loveable characters I've ever read. The story is heartbreaking and hilarious, it has you laughing one second and then the next you're crying uncontrollably.
Seriously, buy this book and treasure every page like I do ❤❤❤
The book centres around Doug's struggle to cope after his wife dies. He feels bitter, angry, resentful and dead inside - his mantra is: "I had a wife, her name was Hailey. Now she is dead and so am I". His grief causes him to be completely self-absorbed until the needs of others force him to engage with the world again. However, do not fear - this is not an irritatingly trite account of someone who was sad for a bit but finds redemption and lives happily ever after. It is a much more 'real' story than that.
I highly recommend this book - you'll enjoy it. There are tears to be shed and laughs to be had along the way. What more could you hope for?!
The central character is twenty-nine year-old free-lance writer Doug Parker, who lost his wife, Hailey [eleven years older], a year ago in a plane crash and has been unable to `get on with his life' ever since. Doug has cut off contacts with the outside world and never leaves his home, in which he has left everything as it was when his wife left for the airport - including her red bra hanging on a door knob. He has sent his teenage stepson, Russ, to live with his father and is trapped in a well of despair and remembrance. Doug knows where he is but has been unable and unwilling to move on. How he begins to do this described in this novel.
In addition to the constant humour [one example being his constant battle with the rabbits that sit on his front lawn], there is a reliance on two dimensional characterisation for so many of the female characters as long-legged sexual bimbos, who offer our hero meatfloaf, support or, at his bossy sister's suggestion, assist his re-entry into the world. Russ does not get on with his father, who is promiscuous in the extreme, and takes drugs, drinks excessively and breaks school rules to gain attention.
It is difficult to know why Doug attracts so much attention from his dysfunctional family, each of whom is more outrageous than the next; just once one would like to have a normal character introduced as a contrast.
Tropper intersperses his narrative with columns that Doug is writing about the effects of bereavement for a magazine but these soon cease, as if the author has lost interest. These columns attract great public interest with the result that publishers are competing for a book but even this cannot bring Doug out of his state of internal reflection and, again, Tropper does not follow up this storyline. This is a pity since both would offer a more serious contrast with the frenetic absurdity of the book. The author is a good writer and there are some very good lines - Doug's mother, constantly taking medication, contrasts her son's situation with her own - with a husband who is suffering from dementia, `You lost your wife, Douglas. My heart breaks for you, it really does. But I lose my husband every day, all over again. And I don't even get to mourn.' However, these are too often lost in the search for a laugh-out-loud response.
Tropper puts a great deal of effort into his characters but almost all are then coated in a gloss of hilarity that disappoints and distracts. We have insights into the conflicting emotions than are tearing Doug apart but, undoubtedly, the most convincing character is Russ, sensitive and emotionally isolated, who is desperate for his stepfather's affection and whose actions for so long seem totally counterproductive.
Doug is so self-absorbed that everyone else's lives seem trouble free. The author is good at handling the guilt at letting Hailey down that Doug feels when meeting other people, taking an active interest in what is going on around him or simply forgetting the past but then introduces a scene at the end that is both melodramatic and superficial.
This is the pity about the book, in creating the great expanse of humorous writing, the author has eliminated the subtlety and contrast that might have made this a moving and even encouraging read. There is also a hefty supply of sex scenes and much bad language that might not be to everyone's liking and, in any case, does not seem to be truly integrated into the narrative.
It's such a wonderfully written book that describes what life can be like when an event you expect to happen when you are much further on in your life suddenly hits you like a thunderbolt when you're still a young person.
Doug is a 29 year old widower and this is the story of his life 12 months after losing his wife. Andrew Tropper beautifully describes Doug's emotions - the conflict and guilt he feels not wanting to let of his life with Hailey yet knowing he must build a new future without her. His relationships with his family, friends and step-son are described with a dry wit and humour in almost every encounter.
The comparison of his own situation with his mothers is brilliantly done -Doug has lost his partner completely, his mother mourns the loss of a little piece of her husband every day. Whose situation is worse?
Like the other reviewers I thought this might be a bit high brow and a bit moralistic. But it's neither. It's just a great book about what it really means to love someone and what it feels like when you lose them - all done with a cleverly crafted comic touch
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