Friday, April 18, 2008

Review: Keeper and Kid

Summary: Eight years ago, James Keeper fell in love with his upstairs neighbor in Boston, a sassy pastry chef with gray eyes and a fierce attitude. They got married, found a dog, and shopped for cilantro. But conflicting schedules and a real estate deal gone bad took its toll on the twenty-somethings in love. One divorce later, the hand-me-down chairs were separated, the potato masher custody settled, and Keeper moved to Providence to work with his best friend selling antiques at a quirky shop called Love and Death.

A new job, a new love, and a new life now in place, Keeper is in a comfortable situation. Business is steady, Leah (the new love) is intriguing and passionate, and Keeper’s friends always turn up for Sunday evening Card Night.
But one phone call from his former mother-in-law changes everything. And so days later, Keeper comes away with a son he never knew he had, and life all of a sudden takes on a new meaning.

Leo, the precocious three-year-old who sports Keeper’s square chin, is more than a handful---he eats only round foods, refuses to bathe, thinks he’s a bear, and refers to Leah as “that man.” For a guy who never thought he’d be a parent, Keeper is thrown headfirst into fatherhood---and has no idea what to do. As Keeper and Leo adjust to the shock of each other and their suddenly very different lives, Keeper begins to let the people in his life in, in turns strange and heartwarming, funny and painful. But some, like Leah, aren’t so eager for change.

In this humorous and poignant novel, Edward Hardy explores the depths of modern love, parenthood, and compromise. Keeper and Kid is the story of how a normal guy receives an unexpected gift and in turn must learn to ask more of others and himself. A coming-of-age story for the guy who thought he had already grown up, Keeper and Kid is a sharp and witty account of what we do for love. -- thomas dunne

A few weeks ago I saw a few, very favorable reviews for KEEPER AND KID, and I thought it looked like a book that I would enjoy. Then, Lisa from Books on the Brain had a wonderful review and interview (as well as a giveaway) that made the book a must-read for me. I didn't win the giveaway; but Edward Hardy, author of KEEPER AND THE KID, offered to send me a copy of his book. You have no idea how thrilled I when he sent me an autographed copy! I wanted to read it right away, even though I already had a huge pile of books that I "should" be reading.

I really enjoyed reading KEEPER AND KID! Being the mother of a very vocal three year old son made the book even more special to me. I found Leo's behavior and interests very similar to my son, and I think that's why I felt such an affinity with him. I thought Mr. Hardy did a wonderful job capturing the essence of a three year old boy. It's very clear to me that he has spent some time around young children (he has two sons.)

My emotions were all over the place while I read this novel. I think this in part is because I kept imagining how my son would react if he lost me and was thrown into an entirely new life. While parts of the books were very entertaining, I have to say that my heart just broke for Leo (I felt bad for Jimmy, but in a totally different way.) This book dealt with so many human emotions such as grief, shock, love, and fear to name a few. I loved how the author was able to take me on an emotional roller coaster ride with his touching words.

At times, I found myself almost yelling at Jimmy for being such a stupid parent. Then I reminded myself that I, too, have made many parenting mistakes. I also had nine months to prepare myself before I "met" my children where as he was thrown into an incredibly difficult situation in a matter of minutes. Even though I was mad at Jimmy for having some of his feelings (I know that you can't really help your feelings); overall, I did feel a great deal of sympathy for him, especially when he lost the love of his life, Leah. The whole situation just struck me a being so unfair, but I guess life isn't always fair.

KEEPER AND KID would make a marvelous book club selection, especially for my group since almost all of us are mothers of young boys. I could talk about Jimmy's feelings and behavior for a few hours myself. There are quite a few discussion questions posted on the author's website that I think are helpful for leading the discussion. I can't recommend enough how wonderful this book is -- it will definitely touch every reader's heart.

Also reviewed at:
Dog Ear Diary

1 comment:

LisaMM said...

I really love your reviews, Julie! Great job. K&K is a special book and I agree it would make a great book club selection.