A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Silver, the main character in One Last Thing Before I Go, was a drummer in the Bent Daisies, a rock band that made it big with their hit “Rest in Pieces.” Silver’s band went on tour and he got caught up in the wild and crazy life of a rock star, neglecting his wife and young daughter back home. Unfortunately the Bent Daisies were a one-hit wonder, the lead singer left, and things fell apart. When Silver returned home, his wife and daughter had moved on, and Silver fell into a funk.
This is where Jonathan Tropper’s poignant and funny novel begins. For the last seven years, Silver has been living in a former hotel that was converted into an apartment building mostly occupied by men who are divorced, separated, or otherwise down on their luck. Except for the occasional wedding gig, he spends his time with fellow losers Jack and Oliver, who hang out by the pool feeling sorry for themselves and every once in a while make trouble.
Then several things happen all at once. Silver’s estranged daughter, now a teenager, comes to him with a problem, right around the time his ex-wife plans to get remarried, and Silver is diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition (coincidentally by the ex-wife’s heart-surgeon fiancé). Silver is disinclined to have the surgery that might save his sorry life, and the rest of the novel centers around his evolving relationships with these other people, his propensity to screw things up, and the question of whether his life has enough meaning to be worth saving. As in his other novels, Tropper fills what could be a sad story with humor that will leave you chuckling, and tells it with great affection for his characters.
This was a fun novel, and would be a good beach read — light reading but with some substance.
Review by Nancy