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How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper
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How to Talk to a Widower (2007)

by Jonathan Tropper

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
The final book of my holiday reading and equally lightweight to my other choices but I'm really struggling to find what I want to say about this book - it's taken me a couple of weeks to come up with these words!

It's all about Doug, the widower in question, his wife's son, Russ, and how they both deal with the aftermath of her death. Now that makes it sound deep and heavy, but it isn't. It's humourous and touching and surprisingly lighthearted.

Doug was always surprised that someone like Hailey chose him. She was bright and witty and beautiful but also older than him, with one failed marriage behind her and a teenage son: Russ. Despite that, they were happy and Doug got on with Russ pretty well (I think they were nearer in age than Doug & Hailey). She dies suddenly leaving Doug with a house and settlement and no need to work. Russ, on the other hand, was never formally adopted and finds himself having to leave the house he's grown up in & go to live with his father, step-mother and step-siblings. Both deal, or rather don't deal, with their grief in different ways. Doug withdraws from the world, Russ starts 'acting out' and getting into trouble at school. Add to this, Dougs twin sister, his disfunctional parents and younger sister, Ross's step family and the various friends and neighbours and you get a funny yet emotional mix.

I'm not sure that the book helps with the grief process, but I suspect it may help folk to understand it. Certainly there were some nice parallels drawn between Doug's loss of Hailey and his Mother coping with the uncertainty of the aftermath of his Father's stroke - each day he wakes up with more or less memories & she never knows what the day is going to bring: “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.”

There are quite a few nice quotes in the book & some of them have been tagged here:

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/how-to-talk-to-a-widower

I finished this book just as I got back to the UK, so I left it in the Reception area of the Comfort Inn Heathrow, Hayes. ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Funny, moving, hopeful. Terrific book! ( )
  cjservis | Jan 17, 2016 |
Another quick vacation read. It tells the story of a young man dealing with the loss of his wife. Sometimes the grief was really raw and painful to read, but then at times it was also funny and witty. Another one that I probably won't remember in a few weeks, but it was a story that kept me engaged. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
Another quick vacation read. It tells the story of a young man dealing with the loss of his wife. Sometimes the grief was really raw and painful to read, but then at times it was also funny and witty. Another one that I probably won't remember in a few weeks, but it was a story that kept me engaged. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
Another quick vacation read. It tells the story of a young man dealing with the loss of his wife. Sometimes the grief was really raw and painful to read, but then at times it was also funny and witty. Another one that I probably won't remember in a few weeks, but it was a story that kept me engaged. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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For Alexa Rose, who hangs with me in the wee small hours with love
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Russ is stoned. You can see it in the whites of his eyes, which are actually more of a glazed pink under the flickering yellow porch light, in the dark discs of his dilated pupils, in the way his eyelids hang sluggishly at half-mast, and in the careless manner in which he leans nonchalantly against the pissed-off cop that is propping him up at my front door, like they're drinking buddies staggering out into the night after last call.
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The point is people become possessive of their grief, almost proud of it.  They want to believe it’s like no one else’s.  But it is.  It’s exactly like everybody else’s. Grief is like a shark.  It’s been around forever, and in that time there’s been just about no evolution.  You know why? Because it’s perfect just the way it is.
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Book description
Doug Parker is a widower at age twenty-nine, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity—the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind. First there's his sixteen year-old stepson, Russ: a once-sweet kid who now is getting into increasingly serious trouble on a daily basis. Then there are Doug's sisters: his bossy twin, Clair, who's just left he husband and moved in with Doug, determined to rouse him from his Grieving stupor. And Debbie, who's engaged to Doug's ex-best friend and manically determined to pull off the perfect wedding at any cost.

Soon Doug's entire nuclear family is in his face. And when he starts dipping his toes into the shark-infested waters of the second-time around dating scene, it isn't long before his new life is spinning hopelessly out of control, cutting a harrowing and often hilarious swath of sexual missteps and escalating chaos across the suburban landscape.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385338910, Paperback)

"Beautifully crafted", "Fantastically funny." "Compulsively readable." Jonathan Tropper has earned wild acclaim—-and comparisons to Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta—for his biting humor and insightful portrayals of families in crisis and men behaving badly. Now the acclaimed author of The Book of Joe and Everything Changes tackles love, lust, and lost in the suburbs—in a stunning novel that is by turns heartfelt and riotously funny.

Doug Parker is a widower at age twenty-nine, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity—the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind. First there's his sixteen year-old stepson, Russ: a once-sweet kid who now is getting into increasingly serious trouble on a daily basis. Then there are Doug's sisters: his bossy twin, Clair, who's just left he husband and moved in with Doug, determined to rouse him from his Grieving stupor. And Debbie, who's engaged to Doug's ex-best friend and manically determined to pull off the perfect wedding at any cost.

Soon Doug's entire nuclear family is in his face. And when he starts dipping his toes into the shark-infested waters of the second-time around dating scene, it isn't long before his new life is spinning hopelessly out of control, cutting a harrowing and often hilarious swath of sexual missteps and escalating chaos across the suburban landscape.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Twenty-nine-year-old widower Doug Parker finds his life spiraling out of control as he struggles to come to terms with grief, love, family, and suburbia while dealing with a bossy, pregnant twin sister who urges him to begin dating again, a younger sister planning her wedding, a mother dealing with her ailing husband, and a hostile teenage stepson.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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