Bill Warrington's Last Chance
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Bill Warrington's Last Chance

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Read James King's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

A magnificent debut about a man's odyssey toward family redemption- with his granddaughter along for the ride

Bill Warrington realizes he has Alzheimer's and his lucid days are numbered. Determined to repair a lifetime of damage to his estranged adult children, Bill takes off with his fifteen-year-old gra...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Viking Adult (first published July 22nd 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Lori
Read 11/12/11 - 11/16/11
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
Pgs:291

Timing is everything.

The week that my grandfather passed away is the week that I decided to start Bill Warrington's Last Chance. My grandfather lost his battle with cancer as Bill started losing his grip on his sanity, slowing sinking into the chaotic and confusing grip of Alzheimer's.

There were so many similarities within the dynamics of Bill and his family when compared to my grandfather and our family that I found this book to be ex...more
Carolyn
By the time I got to the end of this beautiful book, every member of this normal dysfuctional family was a good friend I was rooting for, even though I had seen them when they weren't at their very best. Funny, sad, suspenseful, touching, and so real.
Naberius
Somehow, I just didn't completely warm to this book. Maybe it's just me, but while I found Bill an interesting character, the plot didn't always keep my interest, and I really didn't like some of the supporting characters. Bill's not always likeable. It could just be the Alzheimer's starting to change his personality, but throughout the story, it seems like maybe he wasn't always the friendliest of guys, and old age just seems to be bringing out more of his character flaws (happens to a lot of p...more
Philk81
Bill Warrington’s Last Chance by James King

I do read fiction sometimes! In this case a really enjoyable, unique read and a great debut novel. Very character based with some hilarious and poignant counterbalance woven through this eliptical family reunion of sorts.

I found myself thinking “I know these people!” quite often, with the aging father, facing dementia, struggles to reunite his two sons and daughter, with the help of precocious and spot on hilarious granddaughter/runaway, April. Bill cal...more
Steffan

I'll be honest here and tell you that as soon as I started reading this book, I was getting flashes of Gran Torino in my brain. An aging, widowed Marine living alone at home and estranged from his children and starting to lose control of his mental faculties. I've read that when Gran Torino came out, the author James King was a bit taken aback at some of the similarities, but the reality is very clear that they're two very different stories. The lesson I've learned about books and movies is that...more
Irene
Title: BILL WARRINGTON’S LAST CHANCE
Author: James King
Publisher: Viking
ISBN: 978-0-670-02161-1
Publication Date: August 9, 2010
Reviewed By: Irene Yeates for Author Exposure (09/10)


Bill Warrington’s Last Chance launches a believable tale that boldly transcends beyond the dysfunctional family and a “coming of age” venue by propelling an Alzheimer’s protagonist into a forceful melodrama of past, present and future with credible momentum and an ostensibly inevitable conclusion.

Marcy still clings to u...more
Tina Hayes
"Bill Warrington's Last Chance" by James King is tale of a dyfunctional family brought together by an aging father with Alzheimers and his 15-year-old granddaughter who has aspirations of becoming a famous singer/songwriter. His daughter/her mother get on both their nerves, which was a starting point for their shared interests.

When Bill realizes his memory is slipping away, he decides he wants to bring his grown children together so he can set the record straight about something that happened in...more
J
This is the tale of a family that becomes dysfunctional & start to go their own ways in life after the death of their mother. Two of the kids, (Mike & Marcy) grow-up to have dysfunctional family life’s themselves; the other one: (Nick) has a short lived marriage that ends when his wife die’s of cancer. Well I, am sure that stuff like this happens in the USA all the time with families that become distant; a grand-daughter wanting to get to know her grandfather when he is coming close to d...more
Sherie
What a sweet, poignant story. Bill Warrington's is having more than his share of "senior moments" and seems to be at war with his offspring. A tentative link with a grand child sends Bill and his granddaughter on an adventure which will be the catalyst that will go towards mending the rift between Bill and his children.
Mary
Humor and sadness combine to keep this novel from being too tragic. It seems like this book would appeal across the generations but particularly to those dealing with aging parents. Bill is getting Alzheimer's and is estranged from his children largely because of a misunderstanding but also because he is a bit of a difficult guy--blunt, impatient and somewhat judgmental, characteristics that become more pronounced as he develops Alzheimer's. He teams up with his 15 year old grandaughter, April,...more
Richard
I knew from the plot description this would be an enjoyable and thought-provoking read. But author James King uses the story of Bill and April's road trip to explore so much more. Each of the characters in BILL WARRINGTON'S LAST CHANCE is drawn so vividly and three-dimensionally (with their own issues, problems and concerns) that all the interactions -- and every step of the journey -- ring completely true. This is a novel that explores the way in which tangled memories--and the way each individ...more
Doreen Fritz
Wow! This family has a lot of anger. I can see why they avoid each other so much, cuz they sure have a hard time honestly communicating with each other! Seems like all they do is yell at each other. The family includes Bill, who is approaching his 80th birthday and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's; his son Mike, a philandering salesman; his son Nick, unable to move on after his beloved wife's death three years ago; and his daughter Marcy, a bitter divorcee trying to embark on a new career in...more
Eric
Dec 21, 2011 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: social workers, mental health providers, nurses, people who read about families
Recommended to Eric by: The Next Best Book Club
This was a very powerful book about family relationships. Each character is flawed in their own unique manner that showcases their unique individuality. Also you get a real sense at the same time that the characters are indeed from the same family and that they each responded to their childhood in a different manner. This brought a truth to the story that is lacking in a lot of fiction these days. King was able to mix into this story a true sense of the human experience as well.

The book focuses...more
Paula
I loved Bill and April and got a lot of kicks out of their antics, and sad messes. The book is written with a good dose of humor, even in situations that would otherwise be uncomfortable, sad or tragic moments. King is a talented storyteller. The author does a great job. All the characters are jerks, but with just the right mix of sympathy, selfishness, and Karma to make you like these flawed and recognizable (sometimes on a disturbingly personal level) people anyway. This is truly a skill. Not...more
Donna
Bill Warrington has a a couple of big problems. He is losing his memory and his children don't want to visit him. While he sees his daughter, she is oblivious. His granddaughter, however, is interested in him and his stories. When Bill can't get his children together to talk, and his granddaughter wants to stay with him for a little while, he hatches a scheme to get their attention. With the notes saying that he had April sent to each of his kids, Bill and April set off for their first destinati...more
Beth
I'll admit, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. The plot sounded fun and interesting on the back, but upon reading the first few pages, I found that I could not stand the writing style. It felt like reading one of those teen chick-lit books from Limited Too that my sister and I used to keep in our bathroom. However, as I continued reading, I found that the writing style grew on me. I think I might have been turned off initially because I just finished a book by Joyce Carol Oates, who ha...more
Lynne
I gave this 3.5 stars.

About: Bill Warrington, an ex-marine in the early stages of Alzheimer's, uses his granddaughter to reconnect with his own children, who think he killed their mother.

Descriptive Words: Dysfunctional family, Alzheimer's

Overall: It was okay. A bit too corny, but would make for a good Lifetime Movie Channel movie.

Liked...Bill Warrington's realistic Alzheimers' symptoms of forgetfulness and memory loss and the way he used humor to try to cover them up. As the story progressed...more
Don
Really enjoyed reading this book. Its short, under 300 pages, and is not overly difficult to read, but still has a compelling narrative and developed, interesting characters. The story centers on Bill Warrington, an aging former Marine who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's, and his relationship with his three children. Each of the characters are sympathetic and frustrating in their own way, and I think the family represents a family that is becoming more common in our society - kids get sp...more
Jean-Paul Bass
Bill Warrington's Last Chance follows the Warrington family: Bill, the senile patriarch, his estranged children Mike, Nick, and Marcy, and Marcy's increasingly defiant daughter, April, as they deal with an aging parent who was not the father they needed after their mother died. When April and Bill go on a cross-country road trip, the family must work together to bring them home.

The novel frequently shifts point of view between the family with most of the focus on Bill and April. I had a tenuous...more
Naomi
I am so glad I came across this book used (at a Hastings maybe?). Rather than going to sleep at a responsible time last night, I stayed up so I could finish it in one sitting. Am tired now at work, but is it worth it? Yes.

This is difficult to read at times, because of the subject matter. My dad has the beginnings of Alzheimer's, so it is hard for me to read about others suffering from similar ailments, because it gives me a sad glimpse at what his future, and mine as caretaker, will be like.

In...more
Marion
Wonderful! Writing so clear in its brevity; well developed characters, easily pictured & understood. Same goes for descriptions of places & scenes. A family w/ a domineering dad, former Marine now losing his memory; deals w/ conflicts of their childhoods, death of mom, failed or ended relationships. Grand-daughter, April, is the catalyst who brings everyone together when she runs away w/ Bill.
Mr. King exemplified the bruised feelings of a dysfunctional family, giving us insight to their...more
Brianna Urquidi
Although the author does a great job of character development, and the story was sweet, it was a little bit too cliché for me. Teenager rebels and ends up saving her family's relationship in the process. If I were still a young teenager, I probably would have enjoyed it more.
Peter Roe
It is so refreshing to see the issues raised in this book - Alzheimer's - dysfunctional families, etc not done in a syrupy American way. Well done. The characters did not go out of there way to be liked which gave it a more realistic quality.
Alisha Hanson-Glatzel
I love road trips, adventures, & grumpy old men. This book had it all! Love, love, loved it!

After talking to my mother in law about this book, now that she finished it, I almost want to give it 3 stars. She brought up a good point. The name of the book is BW's LAST CHANCE. His last chance is the point of the whole book and they never address it. Did he tell his sons what happened with their mothers death? They come together, then he is in a nursing home and it's over. Seriously???

It's a gre...more
Dan
Bill Warrington is one mean person and is estranged from his three children. His wife has passed away; he lives alone and has the onset of Alzheimer’s. With that his novel is a road trip to story where Bill takes his 15-year old granddaughter, April across the country (or should I say she takes him) as they run away from their dysfunctional lives.

Although, Bill is nasty, he is still an interesting character. His children have their own problems and some I didn’t connect with. Overall, the combin...more
ba
Bill is succumbing to Alzheimer's. His legacy consists of three children damaged by his less-than-idyllic parenting and the early death of his wife/their mother, and a teenage granddaughter who find common ground with him at the far end of her teenage dissociation. Predictably, a road-trip ensues.

Although I wasn't completely enamored with the writing style, I found the character development compelling, and loved how the author presented the links and similarities of the family members even as t...more
Brooke
I'm only 100 pages in but I already love this book, there's an estranged Dad who is trying (painfully, awkwardly) to reconcile with his 3 kids, so basically this book grabbed me with the cover flap, say no more, I'm in. This is King's first novel too. I set aside my Kindle copy of Franzen's Freedom and another historical fiction book I'm currently wading through to make room for this one, so you know it's a good read. Finished: really really good book. Factoid: later learned that this won the Am...more
Dana
This is the first book I've listened to entirely through an audio version in years (the last one was on audiocassette, so that tells how long ago). It was a good medium for this book as it was easy to follow. The story was okay, the characters interesting enough, and it switched viewpoints smoothly. But in the end it was just okay. And the climax we wait for the entire book was glossed over, which was disappointing. I'm glad I didn't spend my valuable reading time on this book, but it was great...more
Bob Skrezyna
I can't remember the last time a book made me cry, laugh and gasp on the same page. This one did - and many times over.

I've been trying to think of several ways I can rate this book but every time I try to summarize it I end up with spoilers. I just want to shake everyone I know and insist they read this book.

The voices are pitch-perfect and I fell in love with every character, even the ones I wasn't supposed to. To me, that is good writing.

I'm going to stop reviewing it now and start reading it...more
Lorri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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James King is the author of BILL WARRINGTON'S LAST CHANCE, his first novel, published by Viking/Penguin in 2010. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.
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