A young man afflicted with a debilitating disease goes on a road trip with his estranged father.
It’s 1989 and 23-year-old Doopers Lanza has spent three years wasting away in a farmhouse outside of Detroit with his bitter, divorced mother. He suffers from colitis, a colon condition that causes anxiety and abdominal pain. The only consolations in Doopers’ lonely, afflicted life are the love letters he receives from his wholesome Catholic girlfriend, Maricela, who lives in Texas near the Mexican border, where the two met years earlier. It took only three weeks for Maricela to declare her intention to marry Doopers, despite their mismatched values (at the time he was regularly bedding her cousin). Now, Doopers’ mother is tired of caring for her ill son, so she calls her ex-husband, a famous and wealthy cartoonist, who swoops in to rescue the son he hasn’t seen in years. They leave in a well-equipped RV with plans to drive to Texas, where Doopers will propose to Maricela. Suddenly, Doopers is living the good life: golfing every day, going to sporting events, dining at fancy restaurants and otherwise bonding with his father through manly recreation. Maccagnone (St. John of the Midfield, 2010) writes with a relaxed, appealing voice, but women may have trouble accepting this story due to the author’s reliance on offensive female stereotypes. According to Doopers and his father, “all girls” dress in scanty clothing, they ruthlessly compete over men, and, once married, they exploit their husbands’ weaknesses. When his mother brings a man home, Doopers calls her a “drunken sex fiend” and a “full-fledged skank,” forgetting both his newfound Christian compassion and his own promiscuous past. His ever-righteous father, however, can do no wrong. Readers will wait for a conversation between father and son about the many years of lost contact, but it never comes. Action moves swiftly, yet crude humor, mundane details and a few typos blemish the final product.
Plenty of potential but lacking in character development.