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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 June 2017
I loved this book. Full of truth and humour.
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on 14 September 2012
I have enjoyed every single book Jonathan Tropper has written, this one being no exception.
Drew Silver is a very unhappy man,he once had it all, a beautiful wife, loving daughter Casey and a career playing drums in a rock band. Now he is divorced and living alone, barely scratching a living, and on top of that his daughter has very little if any respect for the way her father has conducted his life. When he finds out that he is seriously ill and needs surgery to survive Drew decides much to the frustration of his loving family and few close friends not to be operated on, but instead to use the time he has left to attempt to become a better person and to put right the wrongs he feels he has committed.
A heartfelt story with some endearing characters, and as is usual with all the books this author writes he has the capacity to make you laugh one moment and then reduce you to tears the next.
A wonderful novel which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 June 2013
This is an adult book because it contains language not suitable for the young, but Tropper is a serious writer with deep and thoughtful themes. Here, he explores a wide range of emotions that permeate the broken relationship of a family - Drew Silver, his ex-wife, Denise, and their 18-year-old daughter Casey. Silver was the drummer in a successful rock band called "The Bent Daisies". They had only one hit, "Rest in Pieces" before their lead singer left them for a successful solo career. "One Last Thing Before I Go" is melancholic, hilarious, and absurd, but underlying the story of the broken life of Drew Silver (a life that was about to end) is a story of a heroic attempt at redemption.

The now old, divorced, and jobless Drew Silver lived in a condominium for retirees, "a place where broken men went to lick their wounds as the battles over marital assets and custody arrangements were slowly lost". He cannot overcome the fact that everyone close to him lived better a life once they had left him behind. His wife, Denise, found a new man, a doctor (Richard). His daughter had a better father, and his rock band leader went on to become a success in music. All that Drew Silver was left with were his friends at the condominium, Jack and Oliver, men who, like Drew Silver, were not shining examples of a well-ordered life. Drew Silver learnt late that "the only way to stay sane is to stop hoping for something better." Yet, when he found out that Casey was pregnant, and that Denise was about to marry Richard, a sense of urgency and purpose came over Drew Silver.

Casey was young and brilliant. She was the only valedictorian from her High School to get a place in an Ivy League college. She loved Drew but only occasionally called him "Dad", and that disturbed him. His action plan to get re-involved in his ex-family's life were derailed when he was diagnosed with a heart condition - an aneurysm - and had to undergo a major surgery which might be potentially fatal, but not going for it was death for sure. In the weeks that followed, Drew Silver showed scant regard for his own health in his drive to redeem himself. His friend Oliver revealed that he was dying of cancer but he had no family and was annoyed with Drew Silver for not willing to take better care of his health. He told Jack and Drew Silver, "I will make a point of visiting your graves on a weekly basis just to piss on them". Eventually, Drew Silver agreed to have the operation. Richard was the surgeon. By that time, Drew Silver could contemplate the short period he had to fulfill three things he wanted to do before he died - be a better man, a better father, and fall in love. He realized then that all three are connected as Casey sat by his side with tears streaming down.

Tropper expresses the tragic and the forlorn with such wit that when one sheds tears reading this novel it might be hard to know if they are tears of sorrow or joy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 October 2012
I've read a couple of Jonathan Tropper's previous novels and I like his witty style of writing.
The story opens about eight years after Drew Silver's life fell apart. With a broken marriage and a one-hit-wonder music career behind him, Silver's life is depressing. He has a few sad mates and like him they live in a residential hotel that's known to home middle aged men living on their own.
When Silver's daughter reveals that she's pregnant, and he discovers he has a heart condition that could kill him, Silver decides to rebuild his life and regain the respect of his family before it's too late.
I just couldn't keep my nose out of this book and read it all in one day. It's written in Tropper's trademark style, in that the story is funny and sad and quite often both at the same time.
Silver is a likeable loser and the rest of the characters are really well-drawn. I loved the banter between Silver and his mates, Jack and Oliver, and I was moved to tears near the end of the story.
The only thing I'm not sure about is the ambiguous ending, but other than that it's an entertaining, fast-paced novel.
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Drew Silver was a drummer in a one-hit wonder band. He is now in a residential hotel surrounded by fellow lonely drifters living a melancholy existence. Drew is divorced and in his mid-forties. He is down and fate has dealt him another losing hand of cards. He has a possible fatal heart condition that may be operable. Drew folds on his cards and is determined to put past errors in life that he has made to rights. This becomes complicated as his ex-wife, who he still loves, is about to re-marry. His aloof teenage daughter is pregnant and has a nonchalant approach to it and is dismissive of her father. Drew takes solace in the pub with old mates (a sad lot). The dialogue is hilarious.

The narrative is a fine blend of genuine humour and sadness. There are laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with moving scenes. The novel is well-written in an easy read format with a confectionary of tasty wit and sweet emotions with the odd acid drop. The ending is somewhat inconclusive that some may find irritating but did not detract from my enjoyment of the content that preceded it. Excellent and enjoyable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 August 2013
3.5 stars.

This reminded me of Jonathan Franzen's 'Freedom' as well as A. M. Homes' 'May We Be Forgiven'. A family drama exploring the nuances of a slightly eccentric family with issues, going through a time of crisis. So maybe it's because I've read similar things recently that mean I haven't rated it higher.

The 'issue' here is Silver's diagnosis of imminent death. Former rock star (one-hit wonder), now gone to seed, divorced, ageing.

Soon after being told by his estranged 18-year-old daughter that she is pregnant, he collapses and finds out he has an (operable) heart condition. He chooses not to have the surgery, in order not to revert to the deadbeat dad / terrible ex-husband he has been for several years. His family want him to change his mind.

I did enjoy this book. I've not read anything by this author before, and found him funny with some very realistic character creations. I did find some parts unrealistic though, how his family (whom he is supposed to have neglected) treat him at times just didn't feel right to me (I won't mention specifics as those would be spoilers for the story).

At the end, I finished and thought "right, what next?", so it just didn't hit the spot for me. I had been looking forward to it. There's nothing at all bad about it, I think it was just too similar to other recent reads to really stand out.

If you're a fan of the author, I'm sure you'll love it, as the other reviews are very positive. Sometimes a book just isn't right for you RIGHT NOW.
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on 12 March 2015
I read this book while on vacation, and it was the perfect choice for me. A book written in such a simple style that you find yourself breezing through it, despite the somewhat dark topics it discusses.

Silver, an ex-band member with a one hit wonder, is old, divorced, and a terrible father to his teenage daughter Casey. His wife is about to get married, and his daughter just informed him that she's pregnant. Silver, a great drummer, now resorts to entertaining at weddings and bar mitzvahs. His daughter's declaration brings out a paternal instinct that's been lying dormant for many years, and also a whole load of guilt and regret at his neglect. However, soon after, he has a stroke and is informed that he will die if he does not perform a certain surgery that could save him. Silver, in his great wisdom, refuses to have the surgery and chooses to die instead, giving himself this opportunity to make up for his mistakes. Well, ATTEMPT to make up for his mistakes. All he seems capable of is making more mistakes. His relationship with his daughter is bumpy at best. One minute they're getting along, the next minute he's disappointing her once again. His relationship with his ex-wife also has its ups and downs. Even his parents come into the picture to try and talk some sense into him, and I loved the relationship between him and his father. Then there's the relationship between him and his two old friends who live with him in the same compound.

It was such a fun read seeing Silver's journey, but it was also quite painful. The best part is the fact that he could not keep his thoughts to himself any longer due to his condition. He is constantly getting himself in trouble by not being able to stop himself from saying things he shouldn't be saying out loud.

I appreciated the ending most, the fact that you're not entirely sure what happened in the end. Jonathan Tropper chooses to keep it open ended, allowing us to choose how we would like it go. I definitely know how I'd imagine it all went down, but then again, I'm a sucker for happy endings.

A great pool-side read.
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on 13 March 2013
Silver was one of those men who had it all. A successful career as a musician complete with an enviable rock-and-roll lifestyle, a gorgeous wife and a beautiful little girl. But a few bad decisions down the line and he finds himself alone in middle age sharing a sad apartment block with a group of other divorced men. He pays his alimony with what little he makes from playing his one hit single at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Just when he thinks his life can't get any more deadbeat, Silver is hit with a triple whammy of disasters: first, his ex-wife announces that she is to remarry a successful heart surgeon. Secondly, his teenage daughter drops the bombshell that she's pregnant. And worst of all, he is diagnosed with a medical condition meaning that he could drop dead at any moment unless he makes the decision to undergo a risky operation. So nope, Lady Luck is certainly not being friendly to Silver.

The significant moral of this story is the importance of seizing the day, enjoying life while you can and not taking the good things for granted. Ordinarily this prospect would make me feel mildly nauseous at the very least, but the real strength of Tropper's writing is that he delivers this message without coming across as preachy or overly sentimental. There are some quite weighty issues tackled within these pages - mortality, spirituality, unwanted/teenage pregnancy. While I never found it laugh-out-loud funny, there is a certain wry humour throughout that stops it from becoming too depressing.

While it's true that there is something quite typically blokey/laddish about Silver and his attitude to life, I think this is a book that anybody could enjoy. That's mainly thanks to the lifelike characters and their very human flaws. I loved the relationship between Silver and the other divorcees living in his apartment block, the way in which they bickered and took the mickey out of each other but showed how much they cared in subtle ways. It was such a realistic portrayal of male friendships. The family dynamics were also very convincing with sparky and engaging dialogue. I don't think there was any character in the book that I didn't like.

This is my first encounter with Tropper's writing but I'd definitely be up for reading more.
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Silver is divorced, living in a hotel that is populated largely by other men in the same situation and existing on the royalties from his one big hit record, and his weekly trip to the medical research centre where he is paid to jerk off into a plastic cup - all in the name of science. Silver used to be famous, he was the drummer in the band The Bent Daisies, he wrote their massive hit Rest In Pieces. Silver used to be married, he used to have a daughter that adored him, he used to be someone.

When Silver's teenage daughter Casey appears, calls him `Dad' and tells him that she's pregnant, Silver is determined that he will play the supportive father role - it's better late than never surely? If he's honest, this makes him feel wanted, makes him feel as though he can do something for Casey - at long last.

Things don't quite go to plan, and Silver finds himself in hospital, being diagnosed with a heart condition that could kill him at any time. It doesn't help that the diagnosis comes from Rich; the guy who is due to marry Silver's ex-wife Denise. Rich is a successful, good-living, wealthy guy who loves Denise and Casey, who can give them the life that Silver never did.

Silver makes his list. Refusing to have the potentially life-saving operation, he makes a list; Be A Better Father - Be A Better Man - Fall In Love - Die.

What follows is a story that is witty, poignant, laugh out loud funny and terribly terribly sad. As Silver tries his best to make amends, to make changes, he usually succeeds in making everything a whole lot worse. Jonathan Tropper has a genius way with words, and creates characters that the reader can't help but care for, despite their many faults and their sometimes just ridiculous behaviour. He has conveyed the feelings of the hopeless, but also the hopeful so well.

Silver is a character that the reader should despise, but it is very difficult not to actually fall in love with this guy who really does try his best. My favourite line from Silver is one that totally sums him up;

"If you're eating an ice cream cone, it's just very hard to believe that things have gone completely to s***. That there isn't still hope"

One Last Thing Before I Go is contemporary fiction at its very best. Highly recommended.
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Drew Silver, known throughout simply as Silver, is a fourty-four year old divorced man who lives alone in an apartment in a building called the Versailles, where lots of other divorced or separated men also make their home. His ex-wife Denise is due to remarry very soon and he has hardly any relationship with his daughter Casey. He enjoyed brief, big success and fame as a drummer with his band the Bent Daisies, who scored one major hit, but this fame dwindled fast. Now Silver earns his crust playing at weddings at bar mitzvahs and the like. His main companionship comes from Jack and Oliver, two of the other men whose relationships have failed and who live in the same building for the moment. Together the three of them idle the hours away by the pool, looking at women, partying, not really moving forward with their lives.

Then the sudden discovery that he has a serious health issue, alongside a visit from his daughter with a revelation of her own, causes reassessment of everything and everyone. Silver spends a lot of time alone and thinking about what has gone before, what is happening now and whether he can change things. He knows he doesn't want to carry on living the same way he has been for the past seven years, seemingly being a blight rather than a joy in the lives of those he loves; `He thinks about the fact that the lives of everyone close to him seem to improve dramatically once they leave him behind.' He decides on the things he wants to do, but the question is, can he manage to do them, or has he had his chance?

There's no miraculous solution for him - he knows he has squandered months and years, but now he at least has the realization that he has a beautiful daughter who is now a young woman and who needs him, and he needs her, she is the best thing in his life.

This story is about love, sex, parenthood, separation and growing older, and it is full of humour, sadness, belief, hope, loneliness, self-awareness and realization. I enjoyed reading it, and I liked the way the author conveyed the intense sadness and sense of waste that Silver felt about the mistakes in his life. I liked the portrayal of the tentative renewed relationship between father and daughter, with Silver acknowledging to himself that perhaps despite his efforts, Casey has done really well, and Casey always aware of her father's shortcomings, although always with an element of tenderness. At one stage, Casey tells Silver, `you have me to protect you. Just try not to say anything stupid.' To which he replies, `Have you met me?' This little exchange sums up Silver's low opinion of himself, but is imbued with humour too, and much of the novel is written in the same style. Jonathan Tropper writes fitting dialogue that is peppered with truths, honest observations and humour.

I can't say I liked Silver throughout, but there were times when I certainly warmed to him, when I wished for better times for him ahead, and hoped that he would be there for his daughter now. He is a flawed and believable lead character. I wasn't sure what to expect in reading the details of a middle-aged man's life and looking at things from his perspective, with male friendships, a lot of observations about women. In fact this novel has made me realize that I've probably read very few books that have such a lead character, but this is one of the beauties of fiction; we can be transported and dropped in any situation, with any character, no matter how ostensibly unfamiliar from our own life, and share in the author's imagination and their depictions of this different person and their world, and thereby try something different. I would definitely read other books by this author.
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