Sad sack male protagonists are one of the staples of books written by men. They’re the sorts of character that can be cloying if rendered by an inexpert writer. But Jonathan Tropper has developed a talent for turning these stereotypes into sympathetic figures. In 2009’s This Is Where I Leave You, Judd Foxman contends with his wife’s infidelity at the same time that his newly widowed mother asks him and the rest of his dysfunctional family to sit shiva for their atheist father. Now, in One Last Thing Before I Go, Tropper gives us another of life’s fringe-dwellers: Drew Silver, a 44-year-old divorcé who was once the drummer of a promising rock band but now makes his money by playing weddings and donating sperm to fertility clinics. His ex-wife is about to marry a successful surgeon. His 18-year-old Princeton-bound daughter is pregnant. And a sudden illness forces him to reevaluate his choices in life and decide whether to make improvements in the time he has left. A contrived but charming commercial novel, with a surprisingly powerful ending.
My full review appears at Bookreporter.com.