Poor Doug Parker. At 29, he’s living a life he never anticipated. And it's great. Surprisingly great. Great, until his wife Haley goes off and dies, leaving him alone to deal with his 16-year-old stepson, Haley's beefed-up ex-husband, and a crushing sadness that prevents him from really living.
Tropper has a gift for realistically portraying emotion. In the titles I’ve sampled, Tropper’s main characters are stuck in a suspended state, whether it be grief, or shock, surprise, bewilderment, or all of the above. And there is always a caste of wonderful characters, mostly dysfunctional family members providing comic relief. Deft at both dialogue and asides, Tropper will have you laughing out loud, even as you wipe away sad tears.
While no one is ever miraculously transformed at novel's end, they’ve become unstuck and start to move forward -- the same as what happens to all of us in real life now and again.