Thursday 23 August 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Great Unexpected - Dan Mooney

“If you’re going to end it, you better make it big. No slipping off bridges, it’s undignified for men of our vintage. Go big or don’t bother.”
Joel lives in a nursing home and he’s not one bit happy about it. He doesn’t like being told when to eat, when to sleep, when to take his pills. In fact, he doesn’t like living at all, and he’s decided he’s going to end his life on his terms.
When he tells retired soap-actor Frank about his dark plan, Frank urges him to go out with a bang. Together, they embark on a mission to find the perfect suicide, and along the way, discover the strength of friendship when you really feel alone.

What did I think?

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 Joel is that his roommate, Mr Miller, is unconscious so Joel is left in peace to wallow in his misery...until the day that Mr Miller checks out and a new roommate moves in.  

Frank De Selby or Frank Adams, depending on which persona he adopts, is like Joel's personal antidepressant and we know Joel doesn't like taking his pills.  Frank is so virile, flamboyant and outgoing that it isn't long before Joel is swept along on an adventure that he will never forget.  Frank is a very clever chap as rather than talk Joel out of his suicide mission, he vows to help him come up with the perfect suicide.  I think he knew fine well from the start that he would show Joel that life is worth living after all.  I was in kinks of laughter as the pair hatched an escape plan that enabled them to escape from the nursing home and gallivant around town.  What a night on the town they sounded better than any nights out that I have ever had.

My heart swelled with emotion as I saw Joel's fractured relationships with his daughter and grandchildren gradually being repaired.  Joel had been so caught up in his own grief that he couldn't see that his family were grieving too, but together they could help each other through this difficult time.  It's amazing yet sad to think that if Lucey hadn't died, Joel would never have met Frank and he would never have unearthed the love that his family have for him.  Fate is a cruel mistress sometimes but dying is unfortunately a part of life.

As disgruntledly charming as Ove, The Great Unexpected's Joel Monroe is my new favourite grumpy old man.  I laughed and cried at Joel and Frank's escapades but more than anything, they taught me a very valuable lesson: you only get one shot at life, so you have to make the most of it.

The Great Unexpected is one of those ageless books that appeal to both young and old and I would absolutely love to see this made into a film.  To see Frank and Joel strutting their stuff on the dancefloor would be absolute comedy gold.  I'm definitely going to read this book again and I can see it becoming one of my go-to books when I'm in need of a pick-me-up.  I am completely astounded at how uplifted I felt by this book; evoking such surprising emotions, it really is perfectly named as The Great Unexpected.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Find out more at Legend Press

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Dan Mooney is a writer, air traffic controller and amateur filmmaker, with one of his short films broadcast on national TV. Dan is also a fan of amateur dramatics, rugby and is a friend to many cats. He wrote his first piece of fiction for a child-operated local newspaper at age ten and has been writing ever since.
He is the author of Me, Myself and Them (June 2017) and The Great Unexpected (2018).
Follow Dan on Twitter @danielmoonbags

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