Thursday, May 6, 2010

How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper


 Click to view large image of cover in new window...

Just two years after marriage at the age of  twenty-six to a woman ten years his senior Doug Parker finds himself a widower. The story picks up his life when already a widower for a year, he is still drowning in self pity. His somewhat eccentric  family are trying to encourage him to sort his life out and at the same time his teenage step son, Russ is taking out the anger of his mother’s death on Doug, with difficult behaviour.

I have no idea how this one ever got to be on my wish list! I think possibly as it was a Richard and Judy recommendation. It made it’s way on to Mt ToBeRead fairly  recently when a fellow Bookcrosser  kindly it sent to me. In the spirit of Bookcrossing to keep books travelling I always try and read such gifts fairly soon after their arrival.

The quote on the front cover states ‘Jonathan Tropper is a genius…he has yet again written a brilliant, funny and incredibly poignant book’
Well sorry but I must be missing something here. The word  genius seems rather a strong to use in this context, but then I don’t know any of this author’s other work so I will not pass further comment, just say I was very disappointed.
Funny, yes in parts mainly dark humour which I did not always find appropriate, especially with the I felt overuse of the f word and I assure you I am by no means a prude, if it is necessary use it.
I did laugh when the protagonist Doug describes his memory of his sister Claire putting on her best Julia Child voice. Until recently I had never even heard of Julia Child but now since having seen the film Julie and Julia,( this links to my review), I related to this and found it amusing. I think maybe then that a lot of the humour went over my head being American?
So was it poignant yes, how could it fail to be as a story of love and loss.

Definitely not a style of writing that I enjoyed! I am sure that this will appeal to lots of people as Jonathan Tropper is obviously considered to be a talented writer. In case you are interested in finding out more about him I have included a link to his website.

Once this post was written and saved I went and looked the title up on Amazon and there is only one other review there with less than three stars, the majority being four and five star reviews.  It seems I am therefore very much in the minority on this one.

If anyone else has read this I would love to know what you made of it.


  1. I was given this years ago, along with "This Human Season", and found both quite depressing (perhaps the combo). I have had a similar experience to yours with "The Resurrectionsit", another Richard&Judy book - very disappointing, I kept on waiting for it to get better, and it just never did. I haven't read any of the other books on their list, they can't all be bad?

  2. sounds like a tricky subject that will only work if the writing is truly courageous, shot with humour and very bold. anything less could be depressing!

  3. Hi Lindy-Lou,

    I love it when someone has the courage to write honestly that they DID'T like a book.

    I enjoyed reading your review about How to Talk to a Widower. I have a feeling that I would feel the same way about it.

    If a book is too self-pitiously whiny, I find it hard to read. Eat, Love, Pray comes immediately to mind. I hated that book not, because the woman was paid by her publisher to take a year off, travel and write the book, but because it was so grossly whiny.

    I also liked that you pointed out the cultural differences in humour. Thanks for the review.

  4. Hi Amanda aka Desert Book Chick, Welcome to my Blog and thanks for your comments,which are appreciated. Interesting you mention Eat, Love and Pray as that title seems to be very much a love or hate one. The reviews I have read have not encouraged me to read it yet.
    Priya - I do not think the problem for me anyway was the subject matter, but the authors style of writing.
    Deborah - Did you find it funny? Interesting that you had similar problems with The Resurrectionist as that is another one i did not like
    Some of R and J recommendations have been excellent, though no time to go into detail here now. the book you sent me recently was actually recommended by them as well!

    Once again thanks to you all for commenting I love having feedback.


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