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The Great Unexpected

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  277 reviews
A curmudgeon and his eccentric new roommate join together to plan an epic escape in this charming, poignant tale.

Joel lives in a nursing home, and he’s not one bit happy about it. He hates being told when to eat, when to sleep, when to take his pills. He’s fed up with life and begins to plan a way out when his new roommate, a retired soap opera actor named Frank, moves in
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Park Row (first published August 15th 2018)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  850 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Angela M
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

While there are some very funny scenes in this book, it is not really a light read. It’s sad and thoughtful and thought provoking. It’s about grief and aging, and the desire to live one’s life with dignity, with pride. Joel Monroe is a lonely, seventy six year old man who lives a nursing home after losing his wife. Feeling alone, stifled, not in control of his life and not on the best of terms with his daughter, he loses the desire to live and begins to plan what he’ll do about it. Frank Adams,
3.5 Stars

Thank you to HARLEQUIN- Trade Publishing / Park Row for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

This is a story about a resident of Hilltop Nursing Home, Joel Monroe. His wife Lucey used to share the room with him, until she suddenly died one morning after asking for a cup of tea. Eventually, they put a man named Mr. Miller in Joel's room, who was essentially comatose. Even though Mr. Miller was just a body in the room, Joel still found his presence very comforting. Then one day
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars, rounded up

Joel has been living in a nursing home for five years. “God’s waiting room” as my parents call it. It wasn’t too bad when his wife Lucey was still alive. But she’s been gone three years now.

The book starts on a depressing note. Joel is lonely and scared and has lost the will to live. As someone dealing with two aged parents, I can totally get the whole quality over quantity issue at stake here.

Things begin to change when Joel gets a new roommate, Frank. Frank was an actor
Elyse  Walters
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Library overdrive: ebook/Audiobook narrated by Aiden Kelly

This review turned out longer than I had thought it would be....
My lengthy review ( sorry), doesn’t spill the beans on the nitty gritty details — only a contextual overview.

Aiden Kelly was a very engaging- very delightful - very enjoyable kick-ass wonderful book-reader!

“For he’s a jolly good fellow...[sing along].....🎶🎤

Two elderly gents: Joel Monroe and Frank Adams de Se
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome portrayal of a man, Joel, living in a nursing home and he wants to commit suicide because he feels he has nothing left to live for. The story is told with much humor as well as sensitivity and I loved it! The characters are well developed and they were a great cast of people in Joel's life. I really loved the way Joel described the nursing home as a prison, the residents as inmates and the nurses their jailers.

This story will really make you think about how the elderly are treated in tod
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joel Monroe has been living in Hilltop Nursing Home for five years. At first his wife Lucey was with him and things were ok. But then Lucey died....and the sunshine just faded from Joel's life. He dislikes the nurses, hates his life, often wants to kill himself.....he's just sad, alone and lost. But then a new roommate is moved into his room....a former soap opera actor....and Joel forms a fast, strong friendship. Perspectives can can improve.....adventures explored....even for a ...more
Martie Nees Record
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Trade Publishing
Pub. Date: June 25, 2019

This tenderly written novel is both depressing and hilarious. The plot revolves around two old men living in a nursing home. Think “A Man Called Ove” meets “The Odd Couple.” One is an introverted curmudgeon who has been there for years and considers his place of residency a prison. He walks around all day in his pajamas. In younger years he was a working-class mechanic who owned the shop. Nowadays, he desperately misses bei
Michelle Ryles
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galleys-read
Well this book was an unexpected surprise; it really is unexpected by name and unexpected by nature as I laughed, smiled and cried my way through this beautiful story of growing old disgracefully.

Joel isn't exactly everyone's favourite Grandad; he's miserable, argumentative and disruptive and just wants to die to put an end to his misery. Joel is imprisoned in a nursing home and he's clearly still grieving for his wife Lucey, whose bed is now occupied by another resident. The only positive for J
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Publishing for an advance copy of this wonderful, heartwarming book. It addresses the stigma of old age and the accompanying boredom and loneliness. It shows how the elderly may have their wishes and opinions ignored and are often addressed as if they were children. It touches on themes of family estrangement, unconditional love, friendship, forgiveness, death and loss, and the importance of living each day to its fullest. The charming story may at times bring t ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
We meet Joel, who upon the death of his roommate experiences an existential crisis. Hilltop, where he has been living for some years, seems very nice for an assisted living establishment, a place where the staff is caring and the residents are afforded a certain amount of luxury. There appears not to be too much in the way of stimulation, however, which encourages Joel to become morosely introspective. Enter Frank, a new roommate.

I was strongly reminded of A Man Called Ove, in which the central
Martie Nees Record
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Trade Publishing
Pub. Date: June 25, 2019

This tenderly written novel is both depressing and hilarious. The plot revolves around two old men living in a nursing home. Think “A Man Called Ove” meets “The Odd Couple.” One is an introverted curmudgeon who has been there for years and considers his place of residency a prison. He walks around all day in his pajamas. In younger years he was a working-class mechanic who owned the shop. Nowadays, he desperately misses be
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a complimentary copy of this e-book ARC from the author, publisher, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Joel Monroe is tired of the nursing home prison he lives in and wants to end it all. When he meets the flamboyant retired Soap Opera star Frank De Selby, they can't stand each other. Can this odd couple become friends and enjoy life to the fullest or will Joel eventually end it all? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good and heart-warming novel. The two
Lynne Lambdin
There is something heart warming and sweet about an old curmudgeon. But don't you dare say that to Joel Monroe. He will threaten to punch you right in the kisser. And it is sort of an enduring quality about him. He has fiest and spirit, but he doesn't see it in himself anymore. The world basically views him as a child forcing him to follow their rules. All he wants is a choice. And taking his life is a decision he can make all on his own. One day Frank enters Joel's world. Frank is an old soap s ...more
Paula Sealey
An utterly charming, thought provoking and heartfelt tale, this book moved me to tears, from sadness and hilarity, and I just could not put it down until I'd finished.

Joel lives in a nice nursing home, but following the death of his wife a few years previously, he has shut himself off from everyone and decided to end his life. Then Frank arrives to take the other bed in his room. Debonair, retired soap actor and life and soul of the party, Frank is a breath of fresh air in the home, and eventua
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this review and others on my blog:

The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney is a clever novel about the escapades of two elderly men in a nursing home.

Joel is grumpy. He lives in a nursing home, but that’s the last place he wants to be. He feels like a prisoner, always being told what to do, when to eat, when to sleep. He misses his freedom, and dreams of the days he spent with his late wife.

Enter Frank, Joe’s newest roommate, an eccentric retired soap opera actor w
Donna Hines
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
This feels like 'A Man Called Ove' meets the 'Odd Couple' for an experiment to remember!
Joel is one unhappy camper whose not shy about telling anyone.
He's so miserable in the nursing home after losing his beloved wife Lucey that he wants to end life on his terms.
A shining light is introduced in his roommate Frank who joins him on his escapades but not before giving him a lecture about life.
Ahhh yes LIFE!
You see Frank didn't live an ordinary life nor was his lane paved with gold. Growing up with
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The story takes place in Hilltop Nursing home and is about an unlikely friendship between two of the residents, Joel and Frank. I am always a sucker for stories with more mature characters (like Harold Fry and Arthur Truluv, etc) and this was no exception. I adored these two men and happily followed along in their adventures and their ups and downs. I giggled and I cried and my heart was brimming with love for these endearing characters. Along with them, were several other res ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley, drama
Joel is a lonely old man living in a nursing home. His beloved wife died a few years ago, and since then he's become withdrawn and a grumpy and occasionally rude patient. He resents having to take his pills while the nurse watches, but if he rebels, his daughter hears about it. He's had restrictions put on him since he had a stroke while out of the home a few years back, and now he can't leave the property without his daughter's say-so.

Joel gets a new roommate - Frank, a former actor and a live
The Crime Librarian
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-2019, 2019, fiction
The Great Unexpected is a tender, charming look at aging and how younger generations perceive the elderly. When Joel, an elderly nursing home resident, is tired of being treated like a child instead of the adult he still is. When Frank, a retires soap opera actor, moves into the same room as Joel, he'll turn his world upside down and show him life isn't over.

Though the book touches on some hard to hear topics dealing with the aging process and society's views on the aged and was at times depress
Susan's Reviews
The Great Unexpected tells the story of 75 year old Joel Monroe, who has been forced to retire to a nursing home. He has survived his beloved wife and his comatose room mate. He is a cranky curmudgeon and one day he decides that it is time to end things and join his deceased wife. He gives the nursing staff at the nursing home a terrible time, but his new room mate, Frank, a former soap opera star, teaches Joel that he has been looking at everything in a negative light: that the nurses and his d ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe 4.5 stars. Thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to preview this book. Heartwarming. Worthwhile and recommended.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The world, he concluded, was moving on without his generation. It had always been that way, he guessed, but harder to accept when you’re on the receiving end of it.”

The Great Unexpected is a journey of regret and isolation. It’s the last stand of our connections to others while discovering the little things that give us a purpose, to be loved and sometimes to just feel alive again.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, frequent chinks of light shine through the dark from the antics of ‘lifers’,
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m torn between 3 and 4 stars. It’s a big accident that I read this, since I stopped reading books by men. I went to a lot of trouble getting this book for someone here in America, where it’s not released. Well, the long story is that I got the book and then never got the address to send it to. It wasn’t just myself involved in getting the book here, but my father-in-law. He’s coming for Christmas and it was old-fashioned guilt that made me pick it up to read. I’m afraid he’s going to ask me ab ...more
Dolf Patijn
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved Dan Mooney's first book "Me, Myself and Them" that I bought at the launch and was looking forward to his next one "The Great Unexpected", of which I missed the launch. When I met Dan in Limerick, not too long ago, I told him that I had bought the book and he told me that it was quite a different book than his first and maybe a bit darker. Ah well, I said, I read a lot of more serious, dark literature so I don't mind that at all.

I didn't read any of the goodreads reviews but ju
Andy Weston
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, humour
As contrived a situation as Mooney creates his story did have an impact on me. If it’s only a story about an old man who has lost his will to live, and him rediscovering a purpose, then it works.
But.. in telling the tale Mooney takes many liberties (are there shared rooms in homes for the aged?), not least through the image of the old persons’ home that he paints.
The writing is good, it’s about friendship and the good and bad in humanity. It makes me wonder if it was necessary to sensationalis
Hannah // Book Nerd Native
I really loved this book. Following two men who escape a nursing home together, this story is an adventure from the start. I loved our two leading men, Joel and Frank, and they made me smile throughout my entire reading experience. Really hard topics were handled with such grace and compassion, and I just left this book feeling really glad that I read it. I want to read many more books like this one!
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Give me ALL of the curmudgeons!

Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2020
Definitely a thought-provoking book. I laughed so hard at some parts and found myself choked-up at others. The Great Unexpected certainly captures the heartache of the elderly realizing that they are no longer in charge of their own lives. Having said that, I loved how this book shows that joy can be found in the most unexpected places if one just looks!
What a gem of a novel! I loved it! It's a unique story and with a combination of humor and deep emotion.

Joel, an elderly man; retired mechanic is living with his wife in a room in a nursing home. He must then deal with her death. Her bed is quickly filled with a man in a coma who subsequently dies as well.

Joel is deeply depressed and compares his life to life in a prison. The gates to the "prison" are locked and bedroom doors are locked at night. Kind and patient nurses stand and wait while Joe
Sam - Spines in a Line
I can always count on Legend Press for a really touching story. This book felt a little like Grumpy Old Men, but if that bickering relationship were built on true friendship and love. A very touching story about two elderly men figuring out life very late in the game.

I heard about this one through Legend Press’ newsletter and the blurb sucked me in right away. This is the story of two elderly men, both stuck in a room together in a nursing home, who join together to plan a suicide. The story imm
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