One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper (Audio Book)

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One Last Thing Before I Go

Five words from the blurb: mistakes, divorced, refuse, operation, relationships

Jonathan Tropper is one of those authors that I’ve always wanted to try, but for some reason he never made it to the top of my TBR pile. When Sandy raved about the audio version of his latest book I added it straight to my wishlist. Since the book wasn’t published in the UK at the time she kindly offered to send her copy across to me. I’m so pleased that she did as this is a beautifully written book that works very well on audio.

One Last Thing Before I Go centres on Silver, a dysfunctional middle-aged man who is told that he will die unless he has surgery on his heart. Silver decides not to have the operation and is surprised when his ex-wife, daughter, and everyone else, try to persuade him that his life is worth living.

I have to admit that I initially struggled with this book. The first disc (of seven) bored me. I had no interest in this former rock star, his divorce, or his grumpy outlook on life.

Silver is forty-four years old, if you can believe it, out of shape, and depressed—although he doesn’t know if you call it depression when you have good reason to be; maybe then you’re simply sad, or lonely, or just painfully aware, on a daily basis, of all the things you can never get back.*

Then, part way into the second disc, Silver had his medical emergency and I was instantly engaged. The tone of the book changed as Silver began to think about his fate and I almost began to like him.

Many readers rave about the humour in this book, but I’m afraid it never made me laugh. The jokes were so dry that I barely registered their presence and I suspect that a lot of them went over my head as the Jewish culture is unfamiliar to me. Despite this problem I was impressed by the way Tropper made me sympathise with a man I’d never normally be interested in. His observations of a dysfunctional family felt realistic and there were many pieces of wisdom sprinkled through the text.

I initially thought the narrator was dry and boring, but as the book progressed I realised he was the perfect choice. He sounded exactly as I imagined Silver to be and his lack of enthusiasm reflected that of the character. By the end I was very impressed with everything he’d done.

One Last Thing Before I Go is one of those rare books that enables you empathise with characters that are initially repulsive. Recommended to those who like darker insights into dysfunctional families.


Have you read this book?

Which of Jonathan Tropper’s books should I read next?

* Quote taken from Goodreads, as it is difficult to get quotes from audio books.

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  1. Teresa says:

    I haven’t read this nor have I read anything by this author (fat lot of good I am! ;-) ) but there seems to be a recurring theme of dysfunctional families, death, family crisis throughout his work. For some reason, he hasn’t really appealed to me…that might change… Could he be a male version of Jodi Picoult? ;-)

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I don’t think he is really like Jodi Picoult. His writing is much deeper and has less court rooms. I think the two writers will appeal to very different people. I’m in the middle of that spectrum so find both writers enjoyable, although I think I’d pick Tropper if forced to choose a favourite.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You is the funniest book I’ve read in years! (also recommended by Sandy) I have this one on audio, but haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

    1. Jackie says:

      JoAnn, I wonder if I’d find ‘This is Where I Leave You’ funny? I’m worried that I won’t get the humour again, but I’ll give it a try at some point and hope I enjoy it as much as you did.

  3. stujallen says:

    thanks for review had heard his name mention and seen him in book shop ,shall keep eye out for him ,like sound of his books ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Yes, I think you’d enjoy his style of writing. I look forward to seeing what you think of his books.

  4. Laurie C says:

    I loved this one on audio! I never wrote my review, but it made my 2012 favorites list. This Is Where I Leave You is great, but I didn’t listen to it on audio. I haven’t read his earlier books. I’d compare him more to Meg Wolitzer or Jennifer Haigh than Jodi Picoult, I think.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laurie, I haven’t read anything by Meg Wolitzer or Jennifer Haigh, but you’ve intrigued me with the comparison. I’ll keep an eye out for them now.

  5. David says:

    I’m glad to see you liked this, Jackie, and that it only hooked you part way through. I’ve had the US edition of it for months and I’ve read the first ten pages or so about three times (it’s almost getting to the point that I could recite them from memory!) but each time I never get any further. I wish he hadn’t started with the sperm bank chapter, because those ten pages flow beautifully and yet each time I’ve been put off by the characters and decided to read something else. Next time I pick it up I’ll try to stick with it.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, Yes. It took me longer than usual to connect with this book. I think you might enjoy it, but you probably need to read about a third of it before you become hooked. Let me know how you get on!

  6. Sue says:

    I am reading The Book of Joe, and need to stop cause I have to work tomorrow! Just love this book… funny, harsh, honest, etc.
    It’s one of Tropper’s earlier books.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sue, I haven’t heard of The Book of Joe – I’ll keep an eye out for it!

  7. This was my first taste of this author too, and I liked it overall. I would try another of is books in the future. There’s a good sense of humour throughout even whilst he makes some sad observations.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, It is good you were able to pick up on the humour. I’ll keep an eye out for your thoughts on his other books.

  8. Jenners says:

    I love Tropper’s books … he does have a way of mixing tragedy and comedy in a way most authors can’t quite pull off. If you want to try another one, I’d recommend “This Is Where I Leave You.”

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