People seem to love or hate Jonathan Tropper; there really is no in between. I belong in the former category. The guy knows what works for him as a writer and he sticks with it. Sometimes things feel just a bit formulaic, but he’s good at what he does and thus I don’t fault him for it. How to Talk to a Widower follows a grief-stricken protagonist as he experiences family drama, tries to get laid, and smokes pot along the way. Again, not the most original plot, but Tropper can turn a phrase and I can’t help but be amused by his writing.
Doug Parker is not even thirty, but he his wife’s untimely death has left him alone and vulnerable. His twin sister is pregnant and separated from her husband, his youngest sister is marrying his ex-best friend, his mom is really enjoying her wine and his dad is struggling with some sort of dementia. All of this comes to a head and Doug must sort out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.
Tropper really thrives when it comes to the disintegration of the family dynamic. However, no matter how messed up the situation may seem, by the end everyone usually realizes how much they love each other. The protagonist, no matter how flawed, learns some sort of vital lesson and is able to pick up the pieces, no matter how many of them there are. Again, it’s really not the most original stuff, but Tropper always provides a fun, non-taxing read. I laugh out loud more often than not, and I am consistently entertained.