as I've mentioned before, I love reading Tropper because his stories have heart, and are just so, for lack of a better word, true.
If you've read Tropper at all, you'll easily recognize Doug Parker, our protagonist for How To Talk To A Widower, as Zack from Everything Changes and Judd from This Is Where I Leave You. He's a wise-cracking, self-deprecating dude's dude with a slightly off-kilter family and a complicated relationship with women.
In this novel, the angle is that Doug's wife Hailey, 11 years his senior, has died in a plane crash (Doug is 29). And so he's spent the last year grieving — which has limited his activity to drinking heavily, feeling sorry for himself, occasionally yelling at people who express sympathy, and writing a monthly column for a magazine about how to talk to a widower. But Doug's twin sister Claire, who has her own relationship dilemmas, convinces him that he needs to get back into the dating pool. Meanwhile, he's also charged with the care of his wife's 16-year-old son from a previous marriage, who is angry at the world, as teenagers are. Hilarity ensues.
But, again, the fun derived from this novel is directly attributable to the writing. Want some examples? Sure, no problem: "Pity, I've learned, is like a fart. You can tolerate your own, but you simply can't stand anyone else's." Too low-brow? Then this'll really make you wince: "I've never been to an OB/GYN office before, and you can almost see fractal bends in the air from all the estrogen floating around in here."
I read the last 200 pages of this novel on a plane in a feverish, barely-looking-up trance. I loved it! So if you're looking for something on the light side that'll make you laugh, think and even get a little emotional, check it out.