Jonathan Tropper is the author of This Is Where I Leave You, Everything Changes, The Book of Joe, How to Talk to a Widower, Plan B, and One Last Thing Before I Go, and he is hilarious.
I know everyone is freaking out because This Is Where I Leave You became a Hollywood blockbuster this past year, so that's why I read Everything Changes instead. Tropper's character, Zachary King, surprised me by being a guy. What I mean by this is he sounded, acted, treated his fiancé, his family and his job like a guy actually would. There really isn't a moment where I melted at something Zack said, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't a sweet character. He was sweet because hew as honest. Sometimes Zack was really horrible and shitty and mean and inconsiderate, and then sometimes he was honorable and genuine and quirky and loving. I enjoyed getting to know him as a character, and I forgave him many times for being a guy.
"Life, for the most part, inevitably becomes routine, the random confluence of timing and fortune that configures it's components all but forgotten. But every so often, I catch a glimpse of my life out of the corner of my eye, and am rendered breathless by it."
Tropper's writing style is pointblank. It's frank and it is dry and it had me laughing out loud during scenes that weren't meant to be funny.
"Matt howls, and launches himself onto Satch's back, throwing his arms around his neck, and the situation has officially gone to hell."
I wanted to cry during this scene; it's even more hilarious in context. Because what follows this statement is a lot of bruises, wigs flying and jail cells. I can't say I relate to this scene; however, I can picture it so clearly in my head. That's why I love Tropper's writing, because he paints this canvas for you. He had me praying I wouldn't laugh out loud and embarrass myself in public.
"And here comes Norm, tearing red-faced down the hill toward us in his undershirt, eyes crazed, hands flailing, with two security guards running behind him. One of the guards is clutching Norm's red sweatshirt, which flaps in the wind behind him like a cavalry flag."
Tropper knows how to write a comedy scene, and he knows how to make you like unlikable characters. Zack's father, Norm, is a mess. He is crude, but he has moments where you laugh so hard at him that comedy becomes his redeemer. He might be the World's Worst Father, but Norm will make you laugh.
This story has multiple plots and characters, and that seems to be a characteristic of Tropper's writing. He doesn't like his audience to be bored. He throws many problems at you, but he never fails to make you laugh while attempting to find the solution.