Wait! I Forgot Something!
One Last Thing Before I Go, by Jonathan Tropper. Dutton, 336 pp. $26.95
Drew Silver, known simply as Silver to his friends and family, has washed up and checked out.
Silver’s been divorced for seven years, preferring instead to live in Versailles, a home where men go to live once they’ve been divorced. He can’t complain too much about his life, so there’s that.
Silver used to be a drummer in a band called the Bent Daisies. They had one single, years ago, and the band has since dissipated. He and the other band members occasionally run into each other at weddings they perform at. The front man, the man who originally left the group, has “made it” in Los Angeles as a solo performer.
Silver hasn’t had much contact with his family since the divorce. And now, seven years later, his wife’s getting remarried, and his daughter, Casey, comes to him at eighteen years old and tells him she’s pregnant. She hasn’t told anyone else in the family yet, but she thought she’d tell him because he’s the person she’s concerned about disappointing the least.
Then Silver finds out he’s got a heart defect. He needs surgery to repair his aorta, or it will burst and he will die. His ex-wife’s fiance is an excellent surgeon, and Silver would trust no one else to perform is he was having the surgery, which he’s decided not to have.
One Last Thing Before I Go is a lesson in action. Silver has lived on the sidelines, watching his entire life pass him by. Now he doesn’t know how much time he has left, but he knows he doesn’t want to die as uneventfully as he lived.
Jonathan Tropper’s prose is sharp and witty, and it cuts through the depressing cloud Silver perpetually carries over him. He is not special on his own, but the way that Tropper writes him gives him more life than he’d ever have given himself.