A junkman who forgot to grow up inherits an unusual forget-me-not from his ex-wife.
At 36, Jimmy Keeper has baggage, both real and metaphysical. Keeper’s job at the Providence antique shop requires him to scour New England for treasure. His current relationship, with Leah, a whirling dervish and budding architect who’s still uncertain of her affections, is slowly evaporating. Once married to Cynthia, he let the marriage slip away over a fight about money. Only the occasional romantic interlude, for old time’s sake, marked its passage. Then Cynthia dies suddenly and Keeper’s world unravels with the surprise introduction of a three-year-old son, Leo, he never knew he had. Now the junkman really has his hands full, wrestling the bright but nearly feral child, who, in his grief over the loss of his mother, has taken to biting and hiding his father’s things. Abandoned by Leah and exasperated by his son, the reluctant father starts to confront his own sense of self, in fits and starts. “I was slowly rounding the corner to realize I wasn’t the guy I’d always imagined myself to be,” he says. With help from Cynthia’s flinty sister Grace and a good old-fashioned kick in the pants from his parents, Keeper starts to accept that his new life may be worth living after all.
<\b>A rambunctious story from Hardy (Geyser Life, 1996) that portrays the graceless experience of child-rearing with honesty and good humor.