Tuesday 21 August 2018

Book review : The Great Unexpected - Dan Mooney

Joel Monroe, stuck in the same room in the old people's home where first his wife, then his comatose roommate, died, has had enough of what now passes for his life. Enough of being told what to do (and what not to do), when to eat and take pills, of being treated by a child and of sitting in limbo waiting to die. An idea forms in his head : he will take back control of his life - and death - by committing suicide. His new roommate, the dapper and exuberant Frank Adams, becomes his confidant and partner in crime and together, they set out to plan the utimate way to go out with a bang.

It's a tenderly written and poignant narrative, packed with humour. I loved watching the new friendship develop and thoroughly enjoyed the childish glee that the old men felt every time they got one over on the staff, breaking out for a pint and a taste of freedom despite the constant surveillance.

I've visited elderly relatives in several  nursing homes over the years and, however professional and efficient they may be, they are generally soulless and depressing places, so I could really empathise with Joel. He's far from perfect though - the ultimate grumpy old man - and it is heartwarming to see Frank bring out the best in him and help him develop as a person, rebuilding bridges with his family and the nursing staff.

It's one of those uplifting books that will make you laugh all the way through but still shed a tear at the end. 

star rating : 5/5

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (15 Aug. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1787198855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1787198852

The Great Unexpected is Dan Mooney's second book. You may also like to read my review of his first novel, Me, Myself and Them.

Follow #TheGreatUnexpected blog tour and see what other reviewers thought.

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in return for my honest opinion.


  1. Sounds good and I can empathise too

  2. That sounds great, like a properly respectful take on the subject, a take that treats people in that situation like human beings. That's always very valuable.

  3. Sounds like a very good book, and strikes a chord now that so many people are living longer and longer and going through this.

  4. Sounds inspiring. I used to work in a nursing home so can empathise from the other side, as it were. We did try, but they will never be home.

  5. I wasn't sure whether to review this book or not, but decided it is too poignant. Losing two very dear elderly friends in the last years who were terrified of nursing homes, I just couldn't persuade myself to read it.


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