Tag Archives: Jonathan Tropper

Jonathan Tropper’s “One Last Thing Before I Go”

There is a moment repeated for effect in One Last Thing Before I Go that underscores everything wrong with Jonathan Tropper’s sixth novel. Here’s how it goes: our protagonist Silver, “forty-four years old…out of shape, and depressed,” does something not totally vile, but objectionable enough to create conflict. Maybe he bucks social norm or speaks his mind when inappropriate. Each time, whatever person present, such an action provokes the following statement: Jesus, Silver, you are an asshole. This happens over and over and over and over again.

But in most situations, calling someone an asshole doesn’t resolve a conflict. It may provoke introspection or further conversation. Like, you’re being an asshole, and you’re affecting people in ways X, Y, and Z. In One Last Thing Before I Go, however, it’s said with an undercurrent of begrudging kindness, and seems to move the story along.

Not that the accusation is untrue. Drew Silver—always referred to as just Silver, by his father, daughter, ex-wife, everyone really—is most definitely an asshole. I just don’t think assholes deserve three hundred pages devoted to their epic journey from asshole to bigger asshole to biggest asshole to mild asshole. Continue reading

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Our August Review Previewganza

Who likes August? For real. It’s hot all the time—so hot that cheese will melt in your fridge and your skin will stick to your subway seat. There are no paid holidays at any workplace in America. Severe thunderstorms go on vacation. The White Sox go into their annual tailspin. It’s a horrible time to be alive.

And by way of the Internet’s powers of inquisition, I found a handy-dandy guide to those awful thirty days, courtesy of that venerable American institution Holidayinsights.com. According to the good people at HI—especially my man “Dirty Dozen” Dave Poluyanskis in content creation, what up boyyyy!?—August is the following official (read: not official) months (listed in descending order of huh): National Catfish Month (delicious), National Eye Exam Month (I’ve had 20/20 my whole life; stop extorting me), National Golf Month (all right, whatever), National Picnic Month (sweaty potato salad), Peach Month (Earth’s worst fruit, but I can see it), Water Quality Month (WHERE IS THE CONCERN IN OCTOBER?!), Family Fun Month (…), Romance Awareness Month (cue twenty-four-hour loop of MTV’s “Undressed”), and my personal favorite: Admit You’re Happy Month (you love that sweater, faker).

So to keep you from participating in America’s annual mass suicide—the 2012 iteration being Friday August 24 at Danville’s David S. Palmer Arena—DBC’s going to roll out a whole bunch of reviews. Continue reading

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Yesterday’s release of the Freeh Report investigating the actions of Penn State relating to Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse was greeted by predictably divisive voices. Some people are very upset by what they perceive to be an unbalanced power structure in Happy Valley that made it possible for such a potential coverup seem possible. Others—college football fans and PSU supporters/alumni—believe that the report goes a long way in exonerating Joe Paterno, showing that, if a coverup at all occurred, it was the work of the school’s athletic director, president, etc. Not Joe. These people are weirdos.

And they will likely buy Joe Posnanski’s forthcoming Paterno when it drops on August 21. I wrote about it a little bit in November of last year, and I’m pretty much sticking to that argument: if Posnanski chooses to write a defense of Paterno, he will lose some of his credibility (people already wince at him a little bit as it is). He tweeted last night about having aimed to write an “the most honest book” he could about Paterno. But it’s difficult to align that notion with his having written it before the Freeh Report, which contained some pretty damning information about Paterno and his colleagues at Penn State. If his book contains the how could Paterno know that Sandusky’s showering with a boy in 1998 was illicit since there was an investigation and no charges were filed and experts didn’t believe he fit the profile of a molester argument I’ve seen lately, then Posnanski should really brace for the worst possible reaction to all of this. Continue reading

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