Posts Tagged pregnancy

One Last Thing Before I Go: book review

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper. Publisher: Dutton (August 21, 2012). Contemporary fiction. Hardcover. 336 pages. ISBN: 978-0-525-95236-7.

He recognizes this as only another lonely person can—that small, almost invisible edge in her expression that comes from too many solitary meals and movies, too much time spent in worthless introspection, too much time spent regretting a past that can’t be undone. This is someone who is ready to be loved, he thinks.

Jonathan Tropper is definitely one of my favorite contemporary male authors. When I heard he had a new novel coming out, I quickly requested a copy and immediately read it. Tropper writes about flawed, failed GenXer men with a sensitive understanding, a witty edge and an insightful flair. Silver is a divorced musician. A one-hit-wonder. He tasted the fame. Now he plays weddings. His ex-wife will soon re-marry a doctor. He lives in an awful apartment building crawling with other divorced men. His teenage daughter Casey shows up to announce she’s pregnant. Casey’s the class valedictorian and en route to Princeton. So to say this is irresponsible behavior for his 18-year-old daughter remains beyond hyperbole. When Silver finds out he’s dying of a heart condition, he sees it as an easy out. Or is it?

I found both the pregnancy and the medical condition to be strange plot lines that I both couldn’t get past and couldn’t stop reading about. Tropper writes that well. His character and dialogue can move past any ridiculous plot. If the plot-line had been better I’d have liked the book better. Who chooses to opt out of a heart condition at 43 because he’s not sure he wants to keep on living? I can completely relate to what Silver means but having that hang over your head at all times– wouldn’t one be completely anxiety-ridden? Tropper incorporates it as an additional character, or the fifth dimension or something to that effect. It’s somewhat ridiculous and the other characters realize it but analyze it and philosophize about it just the same. I’ve decided I won’t read novels that revolve around a pregnancy from a one-night-stand as it’s so unrealistic in 2012. As the novel’s about Silver, Casey’s pregnancy isn’t a major plot-line but Tropper handles it deftly. Fortunately Tropper’s smarter than other authors and excels at the craft. Both parents torment their daughter and mention how ridiculous she was not to use protection. Kudos to Tropper for mentioning abortion and detailing scenes with the parents on this. He’s realistic about teenagers.

Regret? Through Silver, Tropper shows that we can’t really regret what’s already been done. What’s past is past. The reader begins to comprehend the desires, insecurities and nuances as the Band-Aid gets ripped off at an excruciatingly slow pace. One Last Thing Before I Go had a few annoying bumps but mostly warm and fuzzy moments and humorous anecdotes about a man-child figuring out whether to move forward or let go. It’s about being happy with the here and now. Not settling. Not giving up. But being in the moment. Being present. And that’s never easy at any age for anyone.

Shop Indie Bookstores

purchase at Amazon: One Last Thing Before I Go

One Last Thing Before I Go
by Jonathan Tropper

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

book review: What I Thought I Knew

Title: What I Thought I Knew
Author: Alice Even Cohen
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
Paperback: 208 pages
Genre: memoir
Rating: B+

What would you do if you found out you were six months pregnant? That’s right and this isn’t a story of a teenager in denial. What I Thought I Knew is the remarkable memoir by Alice Eve Cohen. At 44, the divorced mother of an adopted daughter finds herself quite satisfied with her theatrical one-woman-show career and the new love in her life.

In the spring of 1999, I indulge in the pleasurable delusion of eternal youth. Michael, my fiancé, is ten years younger. I’m forty-four. He’s thirty-four, but he looks like a college kid, with wayward curly hair, earnest blue eyes, baggy jeans and thread-bare T-shirt, cradling his guitar and singing the song he wrote last night instead of sleeping.

But something doesn’t feel quite right. She visits her gynecologist who doesn’t even realize she’s pregnant. Her insurance isn’t quite top notch and she visits several other doctors in New York. After pulling in a few favors, she gets a CAT scan when a doctor is positive she has an ovarian tumor. She finds out she’s pregnant. She also knows that her body is not equipped to carry a baby past six months. This pregnancy puts her and this baby in jeopardy. She considers getting a late term abortion in Wichita, Kansas [the only place to go]. She considers adoption. Alice has some extremely difficult decisions to make.

What I Thought I Knew follows Alice through this surprising time. Cohen possesses a crackling, sardonic sense of humor and a realistic outlook on what she wants of her family and her career. Once you start reading her story, you’ll easily become engulfed in her journey. It packs all the suspense and drama of the most twisted mystery. But it’s her real life. Will this unexpected pregnancy derail all her idyllic plans for contentment?

, ,

Leave a comment

FILM review: The Back-Up Plan

Opening scene: Zoe is freaking out because she hadn’t gotten a pedi to go to her OB/GYN.
Doctor says: “I’m not looking at your toes. I’m looking at your cervix.”

Of course as there are few original films out, The Back-Up Plan is a remake of 1995’s A Modern Affair with Stanley Tucci and Lisa Eichhorn. Zoe [Jennifer Lopez] has always wanted a baby although she thought she’d do so the “traditional” way with a husband. The day that she is artificially inseminated– and her artificial insemination takes the FIRST go-around. I’d like to know how often that happens– she and Stan [Alex O’Loughlin], an organic farmer, meet-cute in a cab. After TWO dates, the pair are smitten but of course the pregnancy *may* complicate things.

It’s that Hollywood Rom-Com theory –once you give up on guys and make your own plan to have a child without a guy involved, you get involved with a guy. But it’s also that fairytale world where everything falls together in the end. All your dreams magically come true.

Mona, her friend with four children, tells her her boobs will look like tube socks and then says she doesn’t even want to tell what it will do to bladder. So supportive. When Zoe shops for baby supplies she’s totally overwhelmed by everything. Zoe skeptically attends a class called Single Mothers. She laments: “Thought I’d have kids by now. Guess it’s time from my back-up plan.” There’s a water birth in the film– great to show it– however it turns into a cliched joke with women beating drums and tons of screaming when I think it’s supposed to be much more peaceful. It’s chaotic and psychotic.

The Back-Up Plan contains plenty of slapstick moments and even a few bathroom humor jokes. Stan goes to kiss Zoe on their first date and spills red wine on her new dress. The table is set on fire. She grabs a hose and gets him soaked and then they have a water fight. Zoe goes to tell her nana that she’s pregnant and of course the lady can’t hear her and then those she’s walking with yell: “She’s pregnant, turn up your hearing aid!” On date two, Stan invites Zoe away for the weekend to see his farm. She drives in and sees him shirtless on tractor and crashes her car. Ugh ugh. Sexist/ body image alert: Zoe struggle to get dressed for a fancy event and can barely squeeze herself into dress and Stan says “Do you have a jacket?” Once at the event, she stands in the mirror looking at herself while sucking in her stomach.

The Back-Up Plan is not surprising at all but very predictable. I also think it’s so unrealistic that they have two dates and are starting to envision a life together. Does that really happen because in all my dating, it has never happened to me. Another sexist moment: When admitting to her friend she’s falling for this guy, she thinks about being a “barefoot” stay-at-home mom. The script is written by Kate Angelo [What About Brian] which appalls me. How can a woman write such a banal script? But then I think about Tina Fey’s insidious Baby Mama.

Jennifer Lopez is charming, laid back and naturally glowing She needs better material but is good with comedic performance. Lopez and O’Loughlin have a low-key, effortless chemistry. I just would like to see Lopez get another role like Out of Sight.


, , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: