Review: One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

August 20, 2012 Dutton, General Fiction 3

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  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (August 21, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0525952365
  • Source: Publisher

Drew Silver, once the drummer for a one-hit wonder of a band, now makes his living playing at weddings. Middle aged, he lives in an depressing apartment complex made up of other divorced men. His teenage daughter, Casey, despises him. He was the first to learn she was pregnant for he is the last one she is worried about disappointing. His ex-wife, Denise, is about to remarry, to a man Silver despises. All in all, Silver’s life sucks.

Then Silver learns he is dying…well, sort of. He has a tear in his aorta that causes him to experience a number of little strokes. Emergency surgery can repair this tear but Silver has no interest in it; why go through all the effort when he has no interest in continuing his life? Instead, he plans to continue living just as he had, waiting for the stroke that ends it all. He has good intentions, really.

His decision shocks his family, his daughter so concerned about his mental stability that she moves in with him. Silver embarks upon a “to-do” list of sorts, things he must do before he dies, including being a better man, a better father, to truly fall in love. Is it possible to do all of these things before he dies?

Don’t let this summary make this book sound like a dark and depressing novel, for it’s the complete opposite. Tropper does a tremendous job of capturing the dull and depressing life of a middle-age man, but in a truly genuine manner. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but Tropper uses a great deal of humor to express the tragedy that has fallen upon Silver. The humor is witty, sometimes dark and sometimes a bit..crass, but it is so expertly balanced with spans of thoughtful moments in which Silver recounts the errors he made in the past.

Additionally, while the overall outcome is extremely predictable, it is the journey that Silver takes, and the reader alongside him, that makes the experience worthwhile. Silver goes from an incredibly crass, selfish and lonely man to a truly remarkable one. The path he takes on this journey is full of wrong turns, dead ends, etc., making the end result truly spectacular.

Silver’s character is one that, despite his many, many, many faults, you can’t help but sympathize with. He’s crass, annoying, belligerent…frankly, he’s an ass. That said, he’s an incredibly endearing ass…one that will make every reader look back and be thankful for the life they’ve been given.

This is one of those books that will have you laughing one moment, tears rolling down your cheeks the next. A truly phenomenal novel-highly recommended.


3 Responses to “Review: One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper”

  1. rhapsodyinbooks

    Tropper is so amazing that way. He is the only one I can remember reading who can turn death and dying into absolutely hilarious moments, yet without disrespecting the seriousness or tragedy of it!

  2. Gayle

    You liked this one more than I did. I am a big Tropper fan, but this one came up short for me. Have you read This Is Where I Leave You or Book of Joe?