“The Great Unexpected” by Dan Mooney

Genre:           General FictionThe Great Unexpected
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 being the boss.  He has given up on life and has suicidal thoughts.  The other old dude is a sweetheart who has just moved in.  He once worked as a soap opera actor.  He is flamboyant, extraverted and just happens to be gay.  This man dresses meticulously and always wears an accent scarf.  He makes the best out of the living in the home, though he too misses his working life.  The author has them sharing a room opening up all sorts of humor.  Mooney does a great job nailing their differences and incompatibility.  In the “outside world” they would never have been friends, but “locked up” together they create an unbreakable ying-yang friendship.

The real meat on the bones of the story is how the elderly are often thrown aside and made to feel isolated and useless.  Mooney shows this best when the two old men sneak out to visit the mechanic’s old shop.  The reader will feel the weight of depression when the mechanic realizes that now he is just an intruder and is asked to leave the premises. The author skillfully handles the sensitive subject of suicide.  And somehow manages to make humor work so it doesn’t read all doom and gloom.  He does this without minimizing the seriousness of suicidal ideation.  Not an easy task.  At times the writing gets sweetly/schmaltzy with a family reconnecting.   Nor is the plot always believable.  If you have ever been in a nursing home you know that sneaking out is unlikely. Still,  two old man enjoying high school antics is fun to read.    If you are in the mood for a story that will make you cry and laugh at the same time this one is for you.

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4 thoughts on ““The Great Unexpected” by Dan Mooney

  1. Wonderful review Martie! I hadnt known about this book but it sounds like something I could really get into! I’m going to see if my library has it! Thank you!💜

    How is your hubby doing? How are you? Staying strong and hanging in there?

    Big hugs!!💖

    Liked by 1 person

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