Captures the amusing, frustrating, and heart-warming perils that face middle-agers as they cope with both demanding older children and extremely demanding parents, in a heartwarming, humorous chronicle of the romance between John Chambers and Jennie Staley.
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Episodes straight out of a TV sitcom characterize this banal romantic comedy by the late (1918-1992) Swarthout (Where the Boys Are). Don Chambers and Jenny Staley, both divorced, are ready to marry one another-but these Scottsdale, Ariz., realtors have no inkling of the impending events that will turn their romance into farce and give new meaning to the term "extended family." Jenny's feisty 91-year-old grandmother takes an instant dislike to Don and refuses to decamp Jenny's condo for a nursing home. Meanwhile, Don's father, Harry, sliding perceptibly into senility, decides to live with Don, while Don's son, Ron, drops out of college and returns home with a trained rabbit at his side; further complications arise when Ron falls for Jenny's 18-year-old daughter. Though striving for a light effect, Swarthout weaves only a sad tangle of humorless events. Harry, irascible and mean, plows into a barber shop;, Granny waves a shotgun at Don; and assorted ailments of the elderly, including diabetes and heart disease, fail to generate a smile. Will Don and Jenny ever wed? After this torturous and strained series of escapades, it's hard to care.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Forty-two-year-old Don Chambers and his betrothed, 38-year-old Jenny Staley, are beginning to think they might never get married. Life has gotten in the way--first, in the form of Jenny's 91-year-old grandmother, Windy Coon, and next, in the form of Don's 83-year-old father, Harry. To top it off, their teenage children from previous marriages have fallen in love with each other, and the daughter is pregnant (which means their children are having sex, even though Don and Jenny haven't quite gotten around to it). Their engagement from hell consists of medicines, blasting television sets, raging hormones, pitiful real estate sales, and impending bankruptcy. And every time they think it can't get any worse, of course it does. Sounds depressing, but the late Swarthout's playful writing style and go-with-the-flow philosophy make this novel a quick and delicious read. Its humor heals us while its frankness about old age, death, money, and life's complications wakes us up. Kathryn Broderick
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