This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Silver knows that he’s done a rubbish job of taking care of his family. He knows that because he’s 44, living in an efficiency (monthly-rate) hotel called The Versailles, and divorced. He was lured into the world of fame and fortune when his band, The Bent Daises, had a one-album-hit following their song ‘Rest in Pieces.’ The celebrity life-style was short lived, but Silver couldn’t stop riding the wave and lost everything in the process. Now his ex-wife Denise and daughter Casey live with Denise’s new doctor fiancé Richard, and Silver occasionally plays drums for an orchestra and languishes by the Versailles pool, ogling women much younger than he is with his friends Jack and Oliver.
It is on one of these pool days that Casey turns up, tells him that she’s pregnant and asks for his advice. Silver can’t decide whether he’s more surprised about his daughter’s news or the fact that she has come to him rather than Denise. Silver resolves to do the right thing and help his daughter, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Soon afterwards, Silver receives some news of his own that makes him reassess his outlook on life, and look back over where he has gone so wrong.
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One Last Thing Before I Go isn’t the kind of book I usually read for Novelicious, but it is undoubtedly a romantic comedy. The story is told mainly from Silver’s point of view, and occasionally Casey’s and Denise’s. Silver is a man with many faults, and with an often infuriating attitude to life and responsibility, but I warmed to him immediately. He knows he is far from the perfect husband or father, and yet he doesn’t quite believe he has it in him to change for them, a point of view that, while defeatist, is pretty realistic. He wanders through things, saying what he feels and managing to upset almost everyone on a regular basis.
Some of the situations he gets himself into are beyond awkward and, as a result, hilarious. The humour running through the book is dry and honest – often painfully so. A side effect of a health complication means that he ends up speaking his inner monologues aloud without realising, and this makes for some brilliant, jaw-dropping moments. But the book is also incredibly poignant. As Silver is forced to consider the choices he has made and the choices he has in front of him, he remembers the women he has loved throughout his life. He recalls the perfect moments when his life began to change, and how those moments slipped away.
I loved Silver, and his friends Jack and Oliver, who are similarly hopeless but with their own redeeming features. I loved Silver’s pragmatic father Ruben, unable to deal with the decisions his son is making but willing to support him as he always has. The scenes between Silver and Ruben are full of humour, honesty and love, and often had me on the verge of tears. But for me, the highlight is the relationship between Silver and his teenage daughter Casey. Casey has a brilliant, sharp wit, an understandable bitterness towards her father but also a huge amount of love for him that she finds difficult to find a home for. Her story is compelling. She realises life is rarely predictable, that it is easy to make mistakes, and that maybe her father isn’t as hopeless as she thought or, more accurately, that hopeless doesn’t have to mean beyond redemption.
One Last Thing Before I Go is a brilliant book. It is warm and funny, original and moving. I laughed out loud and I cried. I thought the book could end one of two ways, and I wondered and worried which way Silver’s story would go. The ending is surprising, and perfect, and I won’t say any more because I don’t want to give it away. I would highly recommend this book. It has a lot of romance in it, an awful lot of comedy, and could warm anyone up on a cold, February night. Jonathan Tropper has written 5 other books, so I’m off to add them all to my reading pile.