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Publisher's Summary

Doug Parker is a widower at age 29, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity - the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Zan
  • Ashland, OR
  • 10-06-13

The Characters Have Character

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mon
  • San Francisco, Ca
  • 03-21-14

Sad Drunken Sap

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Talk to a Widower?

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!!

What does Eric Ruben bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great voice!

Any additional comments?

Awesome listen and not a waste of time or credit!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KP
  • Oakland, CA
  • 11-23-12

Funny and touching at the same time!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brett
  • 725 42nd St SW Fargo, ND 58103
  • 11-06-11

Crappy narrator

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin
  • NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States
  • 11-17-17

How to entertain a listener

A story of going up and moving on after the loss of a lover. And enduring the company of teenage stepson. A dysfunctional Jewish family. Loss of faith. A lot of fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 07-02-14

Easy to Listen to a Widower

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 them in audio -- in fact, listening to Tropper books I already read got me started on audiobooks at a time when I had trouble concentrating on audiobooks. 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 appeals to similarly situated people. The only flaw I find is that his novels follow the same formula, but that has not been an issue for me, because the characters and situations are fresh each time around.

What helps are the framing devices that get him started, that catalyze his humorous analyses of (mostly) suburban families and the towns they live in -- sitting next to Robert Downey Jr. on an airplane, 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 difficulties getting past his wife's death in a plane crash. That launches a series of events that involves his wife's son by a previous marriage, his twin sister, his attempts at dating again, and others. The device is particularly suitable for audio, since our audio narrator gets to read the columns that our literary narrator writes about being a widower. Good stuff!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 04-03-14

Heart breaking but humorous

Where does How to Talk to a Widower rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The step son. His reactions and emotions are so human it pulls you into the book and doesn't let you go.

What about Eric Ruben’s performance did you like?

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.

If you could rename How to Talk to a Widower, what would you call it?

I wouldn't rename it. It's perfect the way it is. There's no talking to a widower until they're ready.

Any additional comments?

Keep the Kleenex box handy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shauna
  • ME, United States
  • 04-03-14

This will make you laugh & cry equally!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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!

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

Which character – as performed by Eric Ruben – was your favorite?

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.

Who was the most memorable character of How to Talk to a Widower and why?

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Top Notch

Would you listen to How to Talk to a Widower again? Why?

Yes, one more time. It's hip, funny, and most entertaining.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Talk to a Widower?

The father's new ability to hug.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't know. Which one of your children is your favorite?

Any additional comments?

The narration was excellent and matched the quality of the novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mara
  • EUREKA, CA, United States
  • 12-24-12

We all Grieve and Heal at out own pace

Where does How to Talk to a Widower rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Talk to a Widower?

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.

What does Eric Ruben bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Putting into words what it feels like in losing a spouse/partner.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

My opinion would be not turn into a film. Something is lost in translation of what the author is trying to say.

Any additional comments?

Can't think of any.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful