A Lesson in Dying? Jonathan Tropper's "One Last Thing Before I Go"

A Lesson in Dying? Jonathan Tropper's "One Last Thing Before I Go"

Chick lit? No, more like d*ck lit. And I mean that in the very best way.

Jonathan Tropper brings the male perspective on marriage, divorce and the ultimate mid/end-life crisis in "One Last Thing Before I Go." Tropper's male lead is a 44-year-old Drew Silver, a wedding band drummer who was part of a one-hit wonder band, The Bent Daisies.

"Silver" to friends and family, Drew has mastered the art of ennui. Post-divorce and living off his "Rest in Pieces" royalties (supplemented with cash-for-sperm activities and the occasional wedding or bar mitzvah), Silver spends his days by his apartment pool with his cohorts Jack and Oliver, ogling college coeds. Clearly depressed, an unexpected visit from his 18-year-old daughter sets him on course to make right all his wrongs before the Grim Reaper says hello.

And Silver's got a lot of them—starting with his daughter, Casey. Throw in his ex-wife Denise, now engaged to the surgeon who wants to save his life, his parents and his brother, and he's got a lot of work to do in an undetermined amount of time. After all, no one knows when his aorta is going to blow.

Silver's illness makes for an interesting plot device, in that he's lost his internal filter, quite literally. You know that running commentary you have with yourself? Your thoughts, wishes, regrets? Silver thinks everything out loud—meaning Casey probably shouldn't share her secrets with him, and Denise shouldn't sleep with him ... yeah, too late.

The first 100 pages are best read with one of those high-intensity lamps blasting 1000 watts of sunshine at you, or maybe a stiff drink. Silver makes a number of very real observations about loneliness, even in companionship, that you may feel yourself slipping into oblivion with him. Rest assured, though—the book has a wry sense of humor spun throughout, almost as if Richard Russo was whispering in Tropper's ear as he was writing.

The main characters—Drew, Denise, Casey, Rich, Jack, Oliver and Ruben—are all well-rounded, and despite a couple of editorial inaccuracies (is Denise's dad dead or alive?), the story is a compelling one and will draw you into the pages in an instant. And don't EVEN get me started on the ending. Damnit!

Great read, everyone. Don't miss it.


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