Keeper and Kid: A Novel [NOOK Book]


Keeper and Kid is a marvel. I dare you. Open this book and try to put it down.” ---Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Room

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,...

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Keeper and Kid: A Novel

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Keeper and Kid is a marvel. I dare you. Open this book and try to put it down.” ---Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Room

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.

Advance Praise for Keeper and Kid

“A fine, fetching novel with a good heart. Keeper is nimble and affecting, a tribute to the author’s endless comic inventiveness.”---Stewart O’Nan, author of The Good Wife

“At once immensely engaging and about the things that matter most: how we love, how we move on, how the past moves with us. Lovely, wise, and surprising.”---Elizabeth Graver, author of The Honey Thief

“Ed Hardy’s voice in Keeper and Kid grabs you and won’t let you go until the very last page. Full of local color, bittersweet characters, and a story we can all relate to---the day your past arrives on the doorstep of your present life.”---Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Room

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429969345
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2008
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 838,193
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Edward Hardy is the author of the novel Geyser Life, grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., has an MFA from Cornell, and has published stories in Ploughshares, GQ, Witness, The Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, and other literary magazines. His work has been included in The Best American Short Stories.

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Read an Excerpt

Keeper and Kid

A Novel

By Edward Hardy

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2008 Edward Hardy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6934-5

Chapter 1
If dogs, rats, and pigs can all sense a looming earthquake and make plans, how come all I can manage is a quick stare at the phone just before it rings? I was at work, wishing for another cup of coffee. It was 9:32 and they were playing Big Maybell on WRIU’s Hard Boiled Jazz show, at some other Cynthia’s request, so her name was already in the air. There was no one else in the shop. Just me, searching the Web to gauge how much the prewar Lionel trains and rolling stock in the box at my feet might be worth.
On the second ring I picked up and said, “Love and Death,” as that’s the shop’s name. It’s one half of this antique store salvage yard empire that my middle-school buddy Tim asked me to come down to Providence and help run. That was four years ago, shortly after everything in Boston spun apart.
“Jimmy?” It was Joan, Cynthia’s mom and my ex-mother-in-law. My shoulders hiked because everybody here calls me something else. To Tim, I’m Keeper, my last name. Leah, my girlfriend, calls me Keeper, too, but she’s working on making the switch to James.
“Joan? How did—”
“I called Tim at home, which was Cynthia’s idea.” Usually Joan sounded like the high school vice principal she used to be, but right then her voice felt thin, as if it were pushing out from under a rock. “Did you move?” she asked. “Would a forwarding message have been so hard?” Her tongue made a click. “This will be a shock,” she said, “but Cynthia really is quite sick and I am not using that term lightly. She would like to see you. Today.”
My first thought, which I knew had to be wrong, was that Cynthia had a cold or bronchitis, pneumonia at the worst. Something you could solve with soup. Cynthia never got sick. She was one of those healthy-as-a-horse exemptions you’d expect to read about in some study. I used to think it was all that adrenaline, knocking off viruses right and left before they could get a toehold. “What do you mean sick?” I asked.
“Exactly what I said.” Joan’s tongue clicked again. “We’re at Mass General and she would like you to visit. Early afternoon is generally a good time for her.”
A heating oil truck downshifted on Wickenden Street. I closed my eyes.
“Jimmy,” Joan said, “Cynthia would like to ask a favor.” Even from an hour away I could tell that Joan didn’t like the idea of this.
I said, “What room?”
She hung up. I stared at the phone, examining the holes in the red handset the way everyone always does in the movies.
Mass General, I thought. Okay, I can find the room. And yes, it annoyed me that Joan wouldn’t say what had happened, but it wasn’t a surprise. I had already decided that whatever it was couldn’t be that bad. Cynthia was tough. Tougher than me by a factor of ten. Cynthia. All those days, and a lot of them, most of them, good enough to be scary. Even then, in certain moments it still felt like I had done something wrong.
The snow-amplified sun kept pushing through the windows, reflecting off the hairdressing shop’s plate glass across the street. Big Maybell kept on singing. I needed coffee. I still had the phone in my hand. It was still red. It felt like that night when I was ten, staring out my bedroom window when I should have been asleep, watching as the sky turned white because a meteor landed three states away and not knowing until the next morning what it was I’d seen. 
Copyright © 2007 by Edward Hardy. All rights reserved.


Excerpted from Keeper and Kid by Edward Hardy. Copyright © 2008 Edward Hardy. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This one is a KEEPER!

    KEEPER AND KID is an exceptionally poignant coming-of-age story with a twist or two depending on the reader¿s personal experiences and opinion. One twist is that the main character is a male who we witness ¿come of age¿ and the other is that this touching story is written by a male. Edward Hardy gives the reader a story that everyone will treasure and characters they will care about. <BR/><BR/>James Keeper is a man who is not exactly dependable and can scarcely take care of himself, but suddenly finds a great responsibility thrust upon him. At 36 years old, Keeper has divorced and gone on to build a rather carefree life in which he works with his best friend in an antique store, has a new love interest named Leah, and maybe his most crucial obligation each week is hosting the Sunday night card game with his friends. One phone call from his former mother-in-law changes James Keeper¿s whole world. <BR/><BR/>Keeper learns that his ex-wife Cynthia is very ill and he goes to see her in the hospital. Days later, he suddenly finds himself no longer a carefree bachelor but now in the role of responsible father of three-year-old Leo, the son that James never knew was his or even existed! Coping with fatherhood is much more than Keeper had even imagined. The reader will soon see that it isn¿t just Leo who grows up in this story. Time out may be something for Leo, but certainly there is no time `off¿ when you are the dad. Leo is demanding 24/7 and after a while, Leah even has had enough and leaves James to fend for himself with precocious Leo who is now legally Jimmy Keeper¿s son and responsibility.<BR/><BR/>Leo, who looks like his dad, has his certain childish quirks. James learns that beside Leo being a three year old who thinks he is really a bear, eats only round foods, and doesn¿t like to bathe, he is also displaying the depth of losing his mother in the way a child often will, through behavior. Dealing with the loss of his mother, Leo begins to soil his pants, hide things from others, and just become a bit bratty to punish other people as his way of dealing with the devastation he feels at losing his mom. <BR/><BR/>Leo forces Keeper to grow up and learn more about himself and those he cares for. James deals with Leo¿s fear of cats, amazing vocabulary, desire to stay up really late while still getting up very early, and in doing so, becomes Leo¿s father and a better man. The characters in the story are appealing and interesting so that one wants to root for them all. This is a heart felt story that can only make you smile as you read it. The love that comes from the pages of this book is palpable and is backed by the humor and pathos of the characters and thus makes this a must read for anyone who loves a character study, coming-of-age, and family story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2008

    Lovely Funny Novel

    This novel rings true in so many ways. From the wonders and hardships of raising a child for the first time to the ups and downs of relationships and their necessary compromises. Add to that a great humorous writing style that keeps you riveted and you've got a novel that is hard to put down until the terrific ending. I recommend this book for all new parents but also for anyone who wants a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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