Doug Parker is a widower at age twenty-nine, and in his quiet suburban town, that makes him something of a celebrity—the object of sympathy, curiosity, and, in some cases, unbridled desire. But Doug has other things on his mind. First there’s his sixteen-year-old stepson, Russ: a once-sweet kid who now is getting into increasingly serious trouble on a daily basis. Then there are Doug’s sisters: his bossy twin, Claire, who’s just left her husband and moved in with Doug, determined to rouse him from his grieving stupor. And Debbie, who’s engaged to Doug’s ex-best friend and maniacally determined to pull off the perfect wedding at any cost.
Soon Doug’s entire nuclear family is in his face. And when he starts dipping his toes into the shark-infested waters of the second-time-around dating scene, it isn’t long before his new life is spinning hopelessly out of control, cutting a harrowing and often hilarious swath of sexual missteps and escalating chaos across the suburban landscape.
Funny, sexy, and smart, How to Talk to a Widower is a novel about finding your way, even when you have no idea where it is you want to go.
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"This is a bit of an odd one. It turned up on my recommendations at Amazon; and I noticed it since Amazon's recommendations are usually along the lines of "You've read a book by Margaret Forster, why not read another one?" which is the kind of conclusion I can come to by myself without the aid of a piece of software that's swallowed the reading habits of half the western world and ought to be able to spit out something more surprising. I spotted it on the library shelf and took it home, and by the time I discovered it was supposed to be darkly comic lad lit (or something) I'd read the beginning and enjoyed it. And enjoy it I mostly did. First person narration by Doug, 29 year old widower of his decade-ish older wife with a 15 year old stepson to help out of scrapes; his siblings and parents have their own triumphs and disasters to deal with. I preferred the book when it stayed on the dark side of comic; the descents into farce were a bit much for me. And though it was obvious that the book was going to end on the upbeat there was at least one storyline (with Doug's twin sister Claire) that seemed to hit an out of tune note at the finale.On the whole though I thought the characters were well rounded, not too stereotyped and not always likable which is a good thing; and generally I thought it was a pretty decent book."
Kirsty (4 out of 5 stars)