I usually post my book reviews on a Sunday but as I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney, you’re getting an extra review this week!
I would like to start by saying thank you to NetGalley and Legend Press, the publishers of this book, for sending me a Kindle version to read in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first ever Blog Tour on The Girl with All the Books and I’m so excited to be involved! I have been extremely lucky so far with the ARCs I have requested and read an The Great Unexpected was no exception.
“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.”
This book was beautiful but heart-breaking, which, let’s be honest, all the great books are. The absurdity of the plot tied with the outrageous, yet lovable characters worked perfectly, and the well-timed humour softened the edges of the serious topic.
As you will have read in the synopsis, Joel Monroe has decided he is going to commit suicide. His new and extravagant friend Frank de Selby has decided he is going to help him. For Joel this means trying to decide what he should wear to the occasion, a football shirt, his pyjamas or maybe just a nice suit? For Frank this is an opportunity to show Joel that his life is worth living. The two are the most unlikely friends yet they are perfectly matched, and I could not stop my self from smiling when reading the scenes where they bicker back and forth or where they go out clubbing with Joel’s young grandchildren. (Yes, you read that right. Clubbing!)
If you love a book with a quirky story and exceptionally well-developed characters, then this is the one for you. Joel Monroe broke my heart into pieces several times. He was infuriating yet lovable and Mooney captured such raw emotion in his character that brought me close to tears at times. It also made me think differently towards my grandparents, particularly my amazing 92-year-old grandmother who has herself complained to me about the lack of independence she has. I have seen my family treat her like a child and like Joel, I have seen her act like a child in response but now I feel like I understand her position a bit better.
My favourite thing about this book was that no character seemed to just be there to assist a plot line. They were all so well-crafted and multi-dimensional and they each brought something different to the story. This for me worked particularly well with the staff at the nursing home where Joel is living. They could all just be name tags mentioned in the escapades of Joel and Frank, but Mooney gives them all a back story. It is the little things like this that make this book feel like such a well rounded and full story.
If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know that I am a huge fan of Frederick Backman (I mention him in at least 50% of my posts). The Great Unexpected reminded me so much of the type of genius yet crazy stories that Backman comes up with and also another favourite author of mine, Jonas Jonasson. This is a huge compliment coming from me as these are 2 of my go-to authors. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of their books and I after The Great Unexpected, I would definitely read more of Mooney’s writing.
The Great Unexpected is out now and if you’re interesting in reading this lovely book (which I hope you are after this glowing review) then you can buy it here.
If you want to hear more from this author, then follow him on twitter @danielmoonbags
Thanks for reading! Do you like the sound of this book? Let me know in the comments below!