Customer Reviews


312 Reviews
5 star:
 (153)
4 star:
 (99)
3 star:
 (38)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should I stay or should I go?
Silver is forty-four, a former drummer with the one-hit-wonder band, The Bent Daisies. After the front man/vocalist, Pat Mcreedy, left them and went solo, they tanked, dried up, and disbanded. Now Silver is a notch above broke, and his ex-wife, Denise, is about to get married to the doctor who wants to perform life-saving surgery on him. But Silver is about the most...
Published on August 21, 2012 by "switterbug" Betsey Va...

versus
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny moments built on a shaky premise
If you liked Tropper's past novels (as I do) then you'll find this most recent offering enjoyable for the same reasons: quirky characters, moments of real insight, twisty plot lines and deftly constructed emotional set pieces. The dialogue sparkles, even as all the characters draw you to their own distinct world views.

In short, here's another romantic comedy...
Published on September 21, 2012 by Stet


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should I stay or should I go?, August 21, 2012
Silver is forty-four, a former drummer with the one-hit-wonder band, The Bent Daisies. After the front man/vocalist, Pat Mcreedy, left them and went solo, they tanked, dried up, and disbanded. Now Silver is a notch above broke, and his ex-wife, Denise, is about to get married to the doctor who wants to perform life-saving surgery on him. But Silver is about the most passively suicidal guy you may meet in fiction.

Barely scraping by, Silver lives on his royalty checks from the song, "Rest in Pieces," or plays Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, when he can get a gig. Mcreedy's career is epic and glitzy, and he sleeps with sexy celebrities. Silver hangs out with a group of losers in the tatty Versailles apartments, where they scope out young daisies in bikinis and nod off at the pool. In between, they make weekly deposits at the sperm bank to supplement their income.

Tropper has a knack for combining flippant with rueful to achieve sharp and piercing. His leading men are Jewish, middle-aged, overweight, and emotionally adolescent. This book and the last one--This is Where I Leave You-- have titles that underscore absence, departing, and abandonment. There's as much death cloud as sex haze in the atmosphere. But there's at least one compelling reason to keep Silver onward through the fog. Or is there?

The only person who seems to need Silver right now is his eighteen-year-old daughter, Casey. But only because she's afraid of disappointing her mother with the news that she's pregnant. So she tells her dad, whom she sometimes calls Dad, but often calls Silver. She's a combination of spiky and vulnerable, and her presence makes you root for Silver to wake up from his numbed slumber and be the strong and able support that she needs. The scenes with Casey are often the most tender and fragile.

"Mom and Rich got me a G35 for my graduation."
"That was nice of them."
"Mom's still compensating for you. I milk it a little."
"I would. Can I ask you something?"
"Sure."
"Why'd you come to me?"
"Really?"
"Yeah."
"I care less about letting you down."

This isn't the side-splitting, laugh-out-loud humor of the last book, but is just as witty and cinematic. The movie rights have already been spoken for, which may bother some readers--that it has a filmic presence to it. (I think of an Adam Sandler type, perhaps). However, the snappy dialogue and supple visuals are fresh and acute with its bent sense of humor. Silver keeps accidentally thinking out loud, which may be the most gimmicky aspect, although it is nuanced gimmick, if you will. There's a hint of customized formula, but with an edge to it, and some loose ends that feel right.

My husband and I have an eighteen-year-old daughter, and--don't shudder--we found aspects of this book therapeutic and and highly relatable. It's madcap at times, improbable, and sometimes too clever. And yet...and yet...it's about ordinary people trying to redeem themselves, to make sense of their place in the world, confront their shame and cowardice, and to love their children without too much toxic spillover. Sometimes we need a mop and a bucket to clean up our messes--and a spark from a quick, funny, savage, messy, poignant yarn about a guy who thinks out loud.
4.5 stars rounded up
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny moments built on a shaky premise, September 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you liked Tropper's past novels (as I do) then you'll find this most recent offering enjoyable for the same reasons: quirky characters, moments of real insight, twisty plot lines and deftly constructed emotional set pieces. The dialogue sparkles, even as all the characters draw you to their own distinct world views.

In short, here's another romantic comedy that's missing only the production notes and studio backing. Get me Julia Roberts and Albert Brooks on the phone! But I'm really alright with that. A novel that reads like a movie is usually a sign of a tightly written, dialogue-rich, marvelously descriptive work. It's also indicative of a great beach book.

Light weight? Maybe. But to my mind it's really quite OK to be a writer of fiction who tells an interesting tale really well. My only problem this time out is I never buy the central premise: that the main character is diagnosed with a condition that will kill him if he doesn't get surgery and he decides not to have the surgery. I just don't believe him. He tries to convince the reader and every other character in the book that he's serious. None of us are buying it.

Does he live or die? Buy the book and find out. In the end, I find myself enjoying the journey and caring little for the destination.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some editorial inconsistencies, October 8, 2012
By 
bjm gator "bjm gator" (Gainesville, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book has some shining moments, even some laugh out loud moments. But my book club noticed that the characters have fairly glaring inconsistencies. Denise's mother dies at 13, but then is helping her try on wedding dresses. Her dad dies and then magically appears at her 2nd wedding. Did anybody else notice this? Is it only my Kindle version that is screwy? This were bothersome, and overall the book was just okay for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jonathan Tropper's latest work is commercial fiction of the highest caliber, September 7, 2012
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
Among Jonathan Tropper's many gifts is the ability to make his readers care about passive male protagonists who have no business being liked. In THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, Tropper's rude 2009 novel, the recently divorced Judd Foxman rarely loses his browbeaten look as he and the rest of his family sit shiva for his deceased father. When Judd gets angry, his reactions are extreme, such as when he catches his wife having sex with his shock-jock radio boss. Otherwise, he's content to remain detached and toss off mordant wisecracks. Yet, we like Judd despite his sarcasm and moments of cruelty. He may not get along with all the members of his family, but even someone as jaded as him recognizes the importance of love and forgiveness after a death in the family gives them definable features.

Tropper pulls off the same trick in his newest novel, ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO. This time, the divorced protagonist with the perpetual hangdog expression is Drew Silver. When Silver was in his 20s, he was the drummer for a rock band called The Bent Daisies. They were a one-hit wonder, but that one hit was so huge that the lead singer decided to leave the band for a solo career. The remaining band members were left to pursue lives of relative anonymity. Silver, now 44 and a tinnitus sufferer, makes his money these days by playing weddings, collecting royalty checks and, once a week, donating sperm to a local fertility clinic.

He lives at the Versailles, an apartment complex off the interstate and home mainly to divorced, middle-aged men. His ex-wife, Denise, is a week away from marrying Rich Hastings, a respected surgeon. Even more dispiriting to Silver is a visit he receives from his 18-year-old daughter, Casey. She's off to Princeton in the fall, but when she shows up at the Versailles one day, she surprises her father with the news that she's pregnant. She asks him to take her to Early Intervention to get an abortion. When he asks her why she came to him and not to her mother, she says, "I care less about letting you down."

While Silver chats with Casey in the waiting room, the tinnitus in his left ear begins to "crackle like a fire." The noise recedes, only to be replaced by silence. He closes his eyes in an attempt to relax. When he opens them, he's in a hospital, with Denise, Casey and Rich by his side. Rich, in his role as Dr. Hastings, says that Silver has a tear in his aorta and needs emergency surgery. Without the surgery, Rich tells Silver, he will soon die. Silver declines the operation, not wanting to drift through several more decades of loneliness. He doesn't want to die, he explains, but "I'm just not sure I want to live." The bulk of the novel chronicles Silver's attempts to act like a better father and to find meaning in what has been, for 44 years, an undistinguished life.

If you've read a Tropper novel before, then the story elements here will be familiar to you. The profanity is frequent and often inventive. Many of the characters, the women as well as the men, speak in one-liners. There's divorce and illness and violence and topless co-eds and heart-to-heart talks between men who have been burned by life, albeit largely from fires they were responsible for setting.

But what you might not expect from this master of the male-bonding novel is the sweetness. For all the vulgarity and sarcasm here, there's a surprising tenderness to some of the writing. Many of Silver's conversations with Casey are hard-edged and bitter, but some are disarmingly moving. His later scenes with Denise are succinct, bittersweet depictions of an estranged couple's lingering love. And the book has one of the most beautiful endings I've ever read in a mainstream novel. Tropper's latest work is proof that, in the hands of a good writer, there's no such thing as men's fiction or women's fiction. There's only good fiction. And ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO is commercial fiction of the highest caliber.

Reviewed by Michael Magras
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do you go on living if you don't like your life anymore?, August 25, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I don't know Jonathan Tropper, or what his life has been like, but he sure does have the ability to provide pitch-perfect perspective into young (and not-so-young) men struggling with what they've made of their lives. His This is Where I Leave You was my favorite book of 2009, and I've enjoyed a number of his earlier books as well, because I love how he gives poignantly funny voice to these somewhat dysfunctional men as they try to get a handle on their past, present, and future.

In his newest book, One Last Thing Before I Go, Drew Silver is a 40-something musician who briefly had a taste of fame as the drummer of a one-hit-wonder band years before. What he has become good at is making a shambles of things--his ex-wife is getting remarried, and his college-bound daughter, with whom he shares a sporadic relationship, has just revealed she's pregnant. To top it off, he drinks too much, has gained weight, and lives in the Versailles, an apartment building mostly populated with divorced men like him. He finds it's easier to do nothing than risk disappointing others, or himself.

When he discovers he needs a life-saving operation to repair a tear in his aorta, he decides that rather than spend more time in the sad state his life has become, he'll refuse to have the operation. That decision, of course, doesn't sit well with his family or friends, and neither does his newly found habit of actually speaking his thoughts out loud, which leads to numerous awkward, painful, and emotional situations. What Silver wants more than anything is to be a better man, be a better father, and to fall in love, but whether he can accomplish any of those before dying--or being abandoned by those he loves--is anyone's guess.

One of Jonathan Tropper's strengths as a writer is his skill in creating characters that you don't necessarily admire but can't help but like. His voice is also tremendous--he's definitely comfortable throwing in humor to temper the pathos and emotional situations, but it never feels forced or false. And if this book isn't as funny as some of his earlier ones, that's more than fine. Silver's journey of self-discovery (and some self-loathing) takes you on an enjoyable and engrossing ride, one that makes you laugh, makes you smile, and maybe even tears you up just a little.

Tropper is definitely one of those authors you should get to know, unless the whole man-in-early-midlife-crisis mode thing doesn't work for you. And even then, don't be deterred.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Jonathan Tropper's Best Novels, August 26, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am a huge Jonathan Tropper fan and to be honest my biggest regret is that he doesn't publish books more often. But when he does come out with a new book, I immediately purchase it and set aside time to read it in one sitting because that is how good his books are. "One Last Thing Before I Go" doesn't disappoint. It very much follows Tropper's other novels in that it focuses on the life of a man pretty much down on his self-made luck who has made more mistakes that you can count in a lifetime and is not determining the path forward.

Here we are introduced to Drew Silver--a former rock star (drummer) whose band broke up many years ago and whose marriage followed soon after. He has been living at an apartment complex filled with divorced and separated men. His ex-wife Denise has been living with a doctor and is close to getting remarried while his only daughter Casey is about to go off to Princeton and finds out that her quick summer fling has resulted in her being pregnant. And if that is not enough, "Silver" as he is called by everyone one day blacks out and when he awakes finds out that he has a heart condition that if not operated on soon will cause him to die--his doctor by the way is Denise's beau. The story follows a somewhat predictable but incredibly fast-paced road that focuses on Silver's decision to have or not have this surgery. He is to a large extent fed up with his current life and is just as happy to die and end it as he is to continue it.

This book gives the reader detailed insight into the life of single, divorced men, the struggles they and their families go through, and how they all cope. I was moved by the scenes showing Silver and Casey trying to figure out how to live together as daughter and father after so many years of his absence from traditional family life. There were some heart-wrenching (and cringe worthy) scenes where Silver's sickness gets the best of him and he starts mumbling out loud thoughts that were better left in his head.

I strongly recommend Tropper's latest book and have a hard time believing it would not be considered for the New York Times Notable Books of 2012.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flat and thin, like my hair, October 15, 2012
Flat. That's the word that kept popping into my mind as I read this book. Flat. Once we find out Silver's condition, there is very little drama except for carefully staged moments that you can see coming. Either the book had to be shorter, or Silver had to make a decision sooner. There were some very funny moments and Mr. Tropper's descriptions are spot on, but unfortunately, the plot thinned and the end flatlined. Let me say that Mr. Tropper's other books, all of which I've read, are fantastic and if reviewed, I'd give them each 5*****.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Read, October 1, 2012
I have read all of Jonathan Troopers books and enjoyed all of them. I love his quirky characters, wild sense of humor, and breezy writing style. Although I liked this book, it was not one of his best. It is the story of a depressed, overweight rock star who has messed up his life. Perfect character for a dark comedy. If you like his books read it. If you have never read one Jonathan's Troopers book start with another one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tropper's "One Last Thing...", October 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is typical Tropper, although perhaps not his best. If you enjoy his humorous repartee and not-necessarily-believable story line, you should enjoy this book. I did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it just me, or is Jonathan Tropper preoccupied with death?, September 6, 2012
By 
I ask this, after reading and thoroughly enjoying How to Talk to a Widower about a young, grieving husband getting past his loss; This is Where I Leave You, about a family of adult siblings sitting shiva for their father; and now One Last Thing Before I Go. Rest assured, "go" is euphemistic. The character of Silver at the heart of this novel is planning to "go" in the most permanent sense imaginable.

Drew Silver, addressed only by his surname by all who know him, is a screw-up. Years ago, he was the drummer for the Bent Daisies, a one-hit wonder band, but his rock-n-roll days are far behind him. Now, in his early 40's, he scrapes by playing the occasional wedding or studio gig. He's been divorced for years, and is almost entirely estranged from his 18 year-old-daughter. There is no one he hasn't disappointed, over and over again. Still, it is Silver that Casey turns to when she finds herself pregnant and afraid to tell her mother. Trying, for once, to be there for her, Silver takes her to a clinic for a quickie abortion, but before anything can happen, he collapses in the waiting room.

At the hospital, Silver is seen by Rich, the nice-guy cardiologist who's about to marry Denise, Silver's ex (who he still loves) and Casey's mom. Thank God they caught it in time! Silver's aorta is tearing, a dissecting aneurysm, usually diagnosed when the patient drops dead. With surgery, Silver will be as good as new. Except, Silver doesn't want the surgery. He has no illusions about his life. Enough is enough. No heroic measures, thank you.

The remainder of the novel encompasses the reactions of the people in Silver's life as they either deal with the decision he's made and/or try to talk him into having the surgery. Along the way, Casey tries to decide whether or not to have the baby, Denise and Rich prepare for their wedding, and Silver, who is having mini-strokes at this point, blurts out whatever comes into his head. Ah, it's that patented Tropper blend of comedy and tragedy. He's so good at it.

That said, as enjoyable as One Last Thing Before I Go was, it's not quite on par with Tropper's very best. I found some of the center of the book to be somewhat repetitive with Silver reflecting upon his mistakes, loved ones trying to change his mind, and Silver blurting out inappropriate comments at exactly the wrong moment. Don't get me wrong, it was never boring, but there was only so far that Mr. Tropper could go with the tale.

What works perfectly are Mr. Tropper's wonderful, flawed characters, in this entirely character-driven story. It's all but impossible not to feel for them, and to root for all of them to get a happy ending, no matter how improbable. The novel is touching and funny and everything I'd expect from Jonathan Tropper. And I thought the end was perfect.

Incidentally, I asked Mr. Tropper about his preoccupation with death when he came through San Francisco. He responded that "Everything's about death. To some extent... The clock of your mortality is what moves you... The whole pressure is that you don't have forever to get it right anymore." And there's the drama at the heart of this comedy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 232 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

One Last Thing Before I Go: A Novel
One Last Thing Before I Go: A Novel by Jonathan Tropper (Paperback - May 28, 2013)
$16.00 $11.79
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.