A beaten-down man tries to get over his ex-wife, mourn his dying grandfather, and fix his life in this moving novel from Norman (Domestic Violets, 2011).
Andy is still reeling from his divorce. After his wife left him, he went into a tailspin that involved puking during a wedding toast, punching his former father-in-law, and high-tailing it out of Omaha to become a bartender in New York. But when his mother calls to say that his grandfather is dying, Andy heads back home and finds that life has gone on without him. His radio host mother is now an up-and-coming conservative star, and her far-right views have attracted their fair share of vocal critics. Andy’s ex has moved on even though he’s having a hard time staying away from her. His best friend is still mad at him, and Andy can’t seem to stop making things worse. But the one bright spot in his life is Daisy, a young friend of his grandpa’s who makes Andy’s happiness her own personal mission. Daisy is vibrant, fun, and full of life…but is her past even more complicated than Andy’s? Norman’s writing is quick and funny throughout, and it’s easy to sympathize with Andy even as he makes terrible decisions. Daisy, however, seems more like a convenient plot point than a character. Deeper examination of her motivations would have made her seem less like a kooky-yet-tragic cliché and more like a fully-rounded person. Still, Norman has crafted a book that is extremely readable and genuinely moving, particularly in the scenes with Andy’s grandfather.
A smart, funny, and surprisingly emotional tale about letting go and moving on.