In this novel, a financial planner on the brink of a breakdown needs to make a drastic life change.
Tom Frye has reached his breaking point. His financial planning clients range from zany to dangerous, and each night, Tom returns home to his wife and two teenage daughters exhausted from the drama and turning to the bottle for refuge. Vicky, Tom’s wife, gives him an ultimatum: Take some time off, or get a new job. His life as he knows it is imploding, and in a moment near collapse, he decides to visit his favorite spot for clarity: “He wished for the days when he had felt fearless and brave and courageous. Not like the frustrated, sulking defensive man he had become. He realized then what he needed to do. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow he needed to go to the river.” Thus begins a series of strange, episodic adventures of a man on the edge that involve more than one sudden death. Bush’s comical yet sympathetic narration crafts an amusing story. Each scene with Tom’s clients is witty and entertaining as the protagonist subdues his ego and ends up in a range of unusual scenarios that range from him getting his newly purchased Italian leather shoes covered in mud to being forced to stare into the eyes of a “scary Dominatrix”—who’s actually a powerhouse lawyer. Over the course of the book, the protagonist’s eccentric clients, who include a mysterious and ungrateful furniture executive and a funeral director, progressively become the stuff of nightmares. Bush paints Tom as an affable but defeated antihero who’s a realist to a fault: “I know the family doctor thinks I need therapy, but Jesus, who has time for therapy?” He’s always longing for something different—and, as if in answer, the author keeps making things more complicated for him.
An entertaining and suspenseful dark comedy about a desperate suburban family man.