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Middle-aged Jeffrey Reiner has a tough time adjusting to the unemployed life in Shine's competent if pat debut. When Jeffrey, a calendar editor at a Florida newspaper, gets pink-slipped, his blandly ordered life unravels. "One second I'm elated about going on to do other things in life," he says, "...and the next I want to puke." With little support from his wife and kids, Jeffrey befriends a 20-something female neighbor and makes halfhearted attempts at active unemployment, like drinking during the day with the other jobless and doing odd jobs. As his life spins out of control and the prospect of finding another job becomes more daunting, Jeffrey stumbles through a series of trials and exploits that give his life new meaning. Shine creates a relatable picture of a modern man dealing with the economic downturn (and, more pointedly, the sour state of newspapers), but Jeffrey's odyssey--"You're turning into an adventure story," the neighbor tells him--doesn't always ring true. A quick, tidy ending caps off a meandering story that can't quite find a proper destination.
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After 18 years writing mind-numbing copy for a Florida newspaper, Jeffrey Reiner is shocked to receive a pink slip. At first, he finds solace in his neighbors’ sympathy and his wife’s willingness to pick up extra hours at the medical lab. But as Jeff counts down the days before his severance pay ends, his concern turns into complacency as he decides he’d rather not work at all, then only jumps at opportunities as they arrive. He winds up performing odd jobs for a mysterious man of whose name he’s uncertain, “networking” at bars with the fellow unemployed, and seeking out a long-lost middle-school friend who seems to have disappeared after a violent accident. When his son openly resents his father’s relationship with lusty next-door-slacker Alex, and his daughter begins showering at friends’ houses to avoid penny-pinching, Jeff realizes there’s more at stake than his career. Unpredictable and with deprecating humor, journalist Shine’s debut will appeal to anyone affected by the current economic crisis. --Jonathan FullmerSee all Editorial Reviews
A clumsy effort to squeeze some lemonade out of a layoff, this book reads like a blog in significant need of editing. Read morePublished on September 13, 2011 by JoAnne
No one could accuse T.M. Shine of plagiarism. His main character, Jeffrey Reiner, has one of the most weirdly original voices I've ever read. He also has a great sense of humor. Read morePublished on January 30, 2011 by Jack Holden
This is a fun read that helps put perspective on how normal our bloated lifestyles have become in everyday American suburbia. Read morePublished on December 21, 2010 by askinnypup