Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Young Widower's Handbook by Tom McAllister

4 Stars

“Grief begins as a temporary condition, but left untreated it becomes a permanent sickness.” Hunter Cady is a man with a severe case of arrested development. Lucky for him, he landed the perfect wife who was willing to be the grown-up in their relationship while Hunter worked a crap job at the local car rental agency and told white lies of being a “writer.” But then . . . . .

“none of that matters anymore because she’s dead and she’s dead and she’s dead and she’s dead and she’s dead and she’s never coming back.”

When Kait dies suddenly at 29 before the two have even had a chance to really begin their lives together, Hunter has no idea how he will ever survive without her. Rather than facing his new reality, Hunter (and Kait) embark on a road trip where he hopes to find the answers to who he is supposed to be and in what part of America he should be that person.

I requested this from NetGalley as quick as my fat little fingers could click as soon as I saw the synopsis. Road trippin’ with an urn! Is that a Kelly and Mitchell guaranteed win or what? Somewhere there is a blurb stating this is a sure-to-love selection for fans of Matthew Quick and Jonathon Tropper . . . but since I’m an idiot I can’t find it now. However, being that I am an expert at all things Quick and Tropper, I’d say there’s about a 50/50 shot you’ll hate this if you go in expecting something like their stuff because Tom McAllister’s voice is completely his own. While Hunter is a loser much like Quick and Tropper’s characters – he’s not very loveable and that was A-okay with me. Given enough time I find most humans end up being not very loveable so I appreciated that Hunter owned his worthlessness right from the start. If I had to compare this story to any other it would be The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Not only did the two books have a road trip in common, but Hunter reminded me of a young Benjamin Benjamin and the tone of each was melancholy (of which I am a giant fan).

Pretty much there are two types of people in the world. People like this . . . .

And people like me . . . . .

If you are of the same ilk, you may appreciate this little downer of a tale too. McAllister hit this one nearly out of the ballpark for me. Even the stuff I’d seen before . . . .

Didn’t seem to be borrowed (duh, dude was missing his wife not overdosing on heroin). Since (1) this was his debut and (2) he looks to be about 14 years old, there’s a solid chance this author will earn all 5 Stars from me before all is said and done because I’m telling you, this child can W.R.I.T.E. . . . . .

“There is romance and then there is love and although they’re related to each other, they are not the same thing. Romance is temporary, predicated on countless variables working synchronously to create something memorable that vaguely recalls a scene from a familiar movie; it’s perhaps a step on the way to love, or a reaffirmation of love, or maybe it’s just a single beautiful moment with no meaning beyond itself. Love, it’s this other thing, a thing that manifests itself in the most unremarkable moments. It’s there without having to assert itself.”

(^^^^I went rogue and totally quoted the quotes even though this was an advanced copy – Please note I read the not-final work product so this is subject to change. But I think if it does, it’s still pretty much a given it’ll be great.)

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Thank you, NetGalley!

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