First, there's his 16-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, Claire, who's just left her 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 maniacally 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.
Funny, sexy, and smart, How to Talk to a Widower is a novel about finding your way, even when you have no idea where it is you want to go.
©2007 Jonathan Tropper; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Alternately flippant and sad, Tropper's book is a smart comedy of inappropriate behavior at an inopportune time." (Publishers Weekly)
"Tropper has the twentysomething guy thing down to a science. His prose is funny and insightful, his characters quirky and just a bit off-balance but decent enough to take to our hearts." (Booklist)
Love novels, love to laugh.
Jonathan Tropper created such memorable characters, I can't seem to shake them and I'm hopeful he'll write about them again. The book was wonderful -- he captured how annihilating losing a spouse can be. There are some very poignant moments. The family was a stitch as well as a heart breaker.
I have read Tropper's books and find them hysterical and thought-provoking. I listened to one other of Tropper's which was narrated by Scott Brick. He is a very talented and popular narrator. However, in my opinion, he does not have comedic timing. Eric Ruben, on the other hand, is terrific and I found myself laughing out loud many times. He was excellent. He really added to the book and I'm hopeful that future books by this author will be read by Ruben or others rather than using Brick.
This is a book I will listen to again and encourage you to spend the credit.
12 step program please. I am addicted to Audible! I love trashy sexy books, award winning novels and everything between. Bring it!
Yea, I really liked this listen. At only 26 Doug has fallen hard for Hailey only to become a widower a few years later. At 29 he is a step father, well sort of; he is terribly depressed and drunk all the time. He is consumed by grief and unable to cope with being responsible for himself let alone another person. Now this should make for just a sad, sad, tale but Jonathan Tropper has a brilliant way of making you laugh and pulling you in because there is more to Doug than just grief. He has a lovable family with big personalities; a stoner stepson that is so broken and sweet and just missing his mom; and Hailey's ex whom, well, he doesn't have many redeeming characterists. And there is Doug and his "total" journey which includes everything from sadness, laugh out loud moments to my favorite- going down memory lane and getting to know Hailey a bit. The book also definitely had some great tips about what NOT to ask someone going thru grief.
When he's caught in bed, drunk in his tighty whiteys, with a bottle between his legs and a picture of his date on his chest. Oh did I mention that this was at his blind date's house? I cringed for him, then laughed!!
Awesome listen and not a waste of time or credit!
Narrator sounds like he has a tennis ball in his mouth. It's very off putting and the ultra thick sounds of his voice, to me, are even disgusting. It's amazing to me that bad narrators are still hired. Good god producers show some discernment, some savvy. Pathetic.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
I would recommend any Jonathan Tropper book to anyone, anytime. Yes, I'm a fan. I've read all his books in print, and I've gone back and listened to some of them as audiobooks, and plan to eventually listen to all of them -- in fact, listening to a Tropper book that I had already read got me started on listening to audiobooks regularly, at a time when has trouble concentrating on audiobooks that I hadn't already read. But none of this helps you.
Simply put, Tropper writes an easily accessible brand of literary fiction about contemporary characters that is full of humor (often laugh out loud funny) and achieving some depth of character and insight into the lives of ordinary people that is appealing to similarly situated people. The only flaw I can find with his writing is that his novels all seem to follow the same formula, but that has not been an issue for me, because the characters and situations are still fresh each time around.
What helps are the framing devices that get Tropper started, that catalyze his humorous analyses of (mostly) suburban families and the people around them and the towns they live in -- sitting next to Robert Downey Jr. on an airplane and wondering what would have happened had his college friends kidnapped him, as in Plan B, or sitting shiva with his family after his father's death, as in This Is Where I Leave You, or having the writer of an autobiographical novel return to his hometown and face the people he wrote about, as in Book of Joe.
In Widower, that device is a column that the main character writes about his life as a man who has been recently widowed, his wife having died in a plane crash, and his difficulties getting past it. That launches him into a series of events that brings in his wife's son by a previous marriage, his twin sister, his first attempts at dating again, and others. The device is particular suitable for the audiobook format, since our audio narrator gets to read the columns that our literary narrator writes about being a widower. Good stuff!
Tropper has often been compared to Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta. I don't think the latter comparison holds up through Perrotta's last couple of books, other than their suburban family settings, because they're so dramatic, but the comparison to Hornby is spot on, even though his characters are English and usually city dwellers.
In particular, I think How to Talk to a Widower is very much like Hornby's About a Boy, given central character who are lonely single men (single for different reasons) who develop relationships with young boys (different ages) and end up as a result learning to deal with their issues about being alone.
There are audiobooks that I don't like where I give the reader the benefit of the doubt, blaming the writer rather than his or her performance. Of course, there are some where the reader performs in ways that rankle me, whether the writing is good or bad.
In this case, given a reader who has done no other audiobooks (he's primarily a stage actor in New York), I give him five stars for a fine performance, but I have to give most of the credit for that to the work that he has performed -- especially because, as I have already said, the author's framing device is particularly suited for the audio format.
Avid reader/listener of romance, action, thrillers, and spy novels.
Considering that I usually don't go into books like this, it's in the top 15. It broke my heart listening to how much pain these men, the husband and the step son were in. I understood how much they loved their wife/mother through their reactions to everyone and everything. But it's hard to listen to.
The step son. His reactions and emotions are so human it pulls you into the book and doesn't let you go.
Everything. He didn't stoically read it. He got into the whole book and I swear at one time, you could hear the emotion and tears in his voice.
I wouldn't rename it. It's perfect the way it is. There's no talking to a widower until they're ready.
Keep the Kleenex box handy.
Yes, this was a beautiful story! I was so brutally realistic in the thoughts and feelings of the characters. It is such an emotional roller coaster throughout the entire book. One minute you are laughing hysterically and the next you find yourself in tears as the reality of the situation hits home. Watching the healing process begin with both Doug and Russ is so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. They are so lucky to have each other and the crazy dysfunctional Parker family!
Clair! She is just so funny, demanding and loveable at the same time. I would love to have her as my twin sister! She is very blunt and honest about everything, sugarcoating is not in her skill set!
I also adore Russ, most likely because he is the teenage version of Doug. He is just trying to navigate life as a teenager, which is no picnic, coupled with the grief of losing his mother so tragically. Throughout all of this he remains very funny and charming.
Doug. Erik Ruben does an amazing job pulling off his attitude, emotions and overall character. You really feel like you are hearing the story straight from Doug.
The most memorable character would be the Parker family as a whole. They are so dysfunctional, yet their bond is unbelievably tight! Any scene in the book where there is more than one of the family members together you will either be laughing or crying!
Yes, one more time. It's hip, funny, and most entertaining.
The father's new ability to hug.
I don't know. Which one of your children is your favorite?
The narration was excellent and matched the quality of the novel.
I love audiobooks. They are so convenient.
It's one of my favorites and and reminds of how much people do not understand how widows and widower's are misunderstood when they are in the grieving process after their spouse or partner have died.
I really can't remember. It's been a while since I listened to the book. I think it maybe it was in how Doug's Step-son's father really didn't want the boy in his life and wanted to move away from him as far as possible.
I got the sense the only one who cared about the Step-son was Doug.
Putting into words what it feels like in losing a spouse/partner.
My opinion would be not turn into a film. Something is lost in translation of what the author is trying to say.
Can't think of any.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
Jonathon Tropper is really funny. The book made me laugh out loud multiple times because he is so funny, witty, and sardonic. He's also very insightful, and his writing is heartfelt. So one moment I could be laughing out loud, and the next I might be crying :)
I have only read one other J. Tropper book, The Book of Joe. I think I liked that one just a little better then this. I did feel like the plot of How to Talk to a Widower went on a bit too long about the travails of widowhood, whereas the plot of The Book of Joe had more dramatic push to it, somehow. Maybe that's just me.
An eye opener. (due to the references and suggestions on how someone might consider not communicating with a person who has gone through such a devistating loss.)
This book reminded me a little of the book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey but I feel How to Talk to a Widower was a much better read. Even the narrator is similar but his dry youthful voice that drones on was somewhat more tolerable with this book - considering the character's remorse. At first I thought his narrating would be the death of me but I gave it a chance and ended up enjoying it during the later part of the novel. (besides, the last book I read was The Outlander and anything seemed good after that melodramatic drivelling harlequin romance novel)
I enjoyed the examples where Doug wrote magazine articles describing his interaction with people relating to his grief. I appreciated the insight on the subject.
This is an easy read and a good story - sad obviously but quite funny at times as well. I appreciated the sarcastic wit.
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