**spoiler alert** On the one hand, a character like Henry should bother me. He's kind- almost to a fault. He allows Denise, the ex-wife, to walk all o**spoiler alert** On the one hand, a character like Henry should bother me. He's kind- almost to a fault. He allows Denise, the ex-wife, to walk all over him for a time and never really tells her how he feels. That's frustrating to those of us who prefer the direct and less diplomatic approach to family politics.
And yet, I can't fault Henry. Would Denise understand what he was telling her? Would she hear the words for what they meant or would she find some way to twist them into something else, giving it her meaning and stripping it of Henry's?
Thalia was written with just the right amount of over the top to make her feel like a real person and less like a caricature. Her inability to keep the secret agreement secret was annoying but her attempts to actually reach the results that Estime was looking for were noble.
I'm not sure if I liked the ending. It felt a bit rushed and slightly tacked on, as if the idea of a baby came in the 11th hour before the book was due to the editor and Ms. Lipman decided that she needed that one extra twist.
I think Leif got the short end of the stick here. He's painted as a guy with no personality, kind of creepy, etc. and yet Thalia still is willing to sleep with him (what does that say about her, that she makes the decision based on his high school nickname regarding his penis, The Hose). He's given a chance at becoming an actual human only in the last few pages of the novel. It just felt like the decision to un-creep the guy was made without setting that change up in the text that came before.
I feel the same way about the spa above the box business and Denise dating Eddie. That all felt very tacked on and not supported by the text that had come before. Granted, the story is told from Henry's point of view but I felt that Eddie came out of nowhere in the middle to last half of the book and the revelation that one of the brothers was doing something illegal just felt like a dues ex machina to get Denise the apartment. The twist was interesting but, again, felt like it came out of left field.
I adored Todd. I wish I had a friend like him. Just a fun, loving, kind man and a very well written character. His mother was a doll and I loved her journey, even though it wasn't a major element of the novel.
Henry's struggles with his life were well done. His desires and his regrets made him so complex and both sad but resilient as well.
Denise is a terrible person that I would never want to know in real life and if I had, I think I would have punched her in the face.
I think this is a love story between father and daughter. Another example of how blood doesn't always make you family and is a key example of the idea that it's never too late to fix a mistake.
The writing is very clever and funny and the book is easy to read. I enjoyed the characters, for the most part, and I was very intrigued to see where the story was going to go. I recommend this story to anyone who likes gentle comedies, family stories and light romance between slightly older gay men. ...more