Title: One Last Thing Before I Go
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Silver is a washed-up, middle-aged, formerly famous drummer for a formerly famous band. His ex-wife is getting remarried and his daughter, who really wants nothing to do with him, is pregnant. He can’t blame them; after all, it’s not like he was a great husband and father. So Silver does what he does best: he causes drama. Not by being the bad guy this time, but by deciding he has nothing left to live for. When Silver’s diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, he opts not to have the surgery that could save him, instead deciding to change what’s left of his pathetic life before he goes.
One Last Thing Before I Go is a bittersweet novel about the lives we live. Silver doesn’t feel like the life he has is worth saving. He’s failed at being a husband and father, the only things that are truly important, and he thinks he’s completely alone. Why prolong his miserable life? It’s interesting to watch Silver develop over the course of the novel, to understand that no matter how lonely he feels, that there are people in his life who care about him. Even though he feels like he’s failed as a husband, a brother, a father, and a son, it doesn’t change the fact that his family loves him and wants him to live.
Jonathan Tropper is an expert at delivering sharp dialogue, a skill he uses quite often in One Last Thing Before I Go. The novel is witty and there are moments the reader will laugh out loud. But it’s simultaneously sad and bittersweet, which is quite impressive. He is amazing at ferreting out life’s truths and phrasing them in memorable ways. If you enjoy smart writing, Tropper is an absolute must-read.
The novel is emotionally manipulative at times, but the question of whether Silver will choose to save himself or not will keep readers interested from beginning to end. The author doesn’t provide any tidy endings or easy decisions; the reader can’t just assume that things will turn out happily. It doesn’t quite have the same lighthearted tone as Tropper’s previous books. It’s a little more serious and digs a little further under the surface.
If you’re looking for a smart read with interesting, well-developed characters, One Last Thing Before I Go is a great choice. Tropper spends time and effort making sure every person in this book has a memorable personality. The characters will stick with you long after the last pages are turned, and you’ll find yourself wanting to quote Tropper’s writing over and over again.
Other books by Jonathan Tropper: