"LIFE'S A FUNNY PROPOSITION, HORATIO" by Barbara Garland Polikoff


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A leaden story about a family in mourning: It's been nearly two years since Joshua Tuckerman died, but he's still missed by his son Horatio, his wife Evie, and his father (""O.P.""--Old Professor), a retired scholar mildly disabled by a heart attack. To no obvious purpose, the author weaves in several subplots: Horatio's relationship with Angle, his best friend's sister, blossoms; Evie begins dating; O.P.'s beloved dog dies in an accident. Horatio tries to lure the depressed O.P. to the pound to pick another pet, watches resentfully as his mother tries (unsuccessfully) to have a social life, and, after several smooth encounters with Angle, begins to revise his nerdy self-image. Slow to start and loosely constructed, with characters who are introduced but never appear, facets of personality (e.g., Horatio's interest in chess) that arc only superficially explored, bland dialogue (including a tacked-on anti-smoking sermon), and some obvious humor at the expense of Evie, a dentist, and Angle's mother, who's testing recipes for a health-food cookbook. In the end, Horatio, Evie, and O.P. hold a memorial service for Joshua that leaves them feeling better but otherwise little changed.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
Page count: 103pp
Publisher: Henry Holt