Kids These Days: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free--in Alice’s deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice’s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn’t know--about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid’s shady dealings, about what he’s really supposed to be doing--far outweighs what he does know. And soon ...

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Kids These Days: A Novel

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Overview

Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free--in Alice’s deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice’s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn’t know--about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid’s shady dealings, about what he’s really supposed to be doing--far outweighs what he does know. And soon enough, things escalate so out of control that Walter is riding shotgun with Mid in a bright yellow Camaro--chased by the police.

Drew Perry paints a landscape of weird and beautiful Florida and its inhabitants--all wholly original and hilarious, and utterly believable. And at the center is a portrait of a father-to-be who is paralyzed by the idea of taking responsibility for another human life when he can’t seem to manage his own. Kids These Days takes perfect aim at the two sides of impending fatherhood--abject terror and unconditional love.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
10/01/2013
Recently laid-off mortgage officer Walter (Walt) and pregnant wife Alice have moved into a Florida condo on loan from Alice's sister and brother-in-law, Mid. A job for Walt is part of the package as entrepreneur Mid begins grooming him to oversee his various operations—pizzeria, kayak rentals, ice-dispensing kiosks, and other ventures that may or may not be entirely "legit." Mid and wife Carolyn's teenage daughter, Olivia, bounces among her parents, her older boyfriend, and the condo as she "rebels" in her own rather surprisingly responsible way. As Walt begins to gain a clearer picture of the true nature and possible ramifications of Mid's business dealings and his growing apprehension at impending fatherhood, readers will feel his already shaky confidence giving way to an inertia that could lead to disaster. Perry's second novel (after This Is Just Exactly Like You) is a timely look at contemporary America, with its unexpected economic setbacks and the bargains made to surmount them. VERDICT Readers of Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and Jonathan Tropper should enjoy this compelling novel, the story of a man in transition that might also lure a few Florida fiction fans as well.—Jennifer B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. Northeast
Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
Perry’s uneven second novel (This Is Just Exactly Like You) plods aimlessly through a Florida landscape littered with narcissistic families whose lives are circling the drain. Walter and Alice’s marriage is on the ropes—he’s unemployed, she’s pregnant, both are unsure that they want the baby. They’ve moved to Florida to start over in the shadow of Alice’s sister, Carolyn, and her crooked husband, Mid, who is a master of the con, convincing Walter to work a shady job. Walter and Alice are suspicious of everything Mid says and does, but they are too weak to “just say no.” When Mid is arrested for drug offenses and tax evasion, the cops—agents Friendly and Helpful—lean on him to become a police informer, and Mid’s family life melts down in a puddle of self-pity, self-denial, and furious anger. Walter, Alice, Carolyn, and Mid make unbelievable, bad decisions, one after another, and they spend the rest of the time bickering. Surprisingly, Perry fails to resolve any of the conflicts, leaving the reader to wonder what just happened. The adults and kids in this disappointing story are corny caricatures of sad, shallow people. (Jan.)
Review quotes

“Drew Perry, a terrific writer, has written a wonderful book about a man dealing with--among other things--the angst of impending fatherhood. It's sweet, soulful, smart, and funny as hell. A great read.” Dave Barry, author of Insane City

“Drew Perry’s Kids These Days is a genuinely funny book. One that will make you guffaw into your gingerbread latte until a stranger at the next table asks, 'What’s so funny?' At which point you might--as I did--end up reading pages aloud and making a scene at Starbucks. If you want a novel that serves up its humor in a venti-sized cup, this one’s for you.” —Fiction Writers Review

“This book is so funny and engaging that I was reading it and forgot to pick up my kids.” Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“Drew Perry does some amazing things in this wonderfully funny novel, not least of which is the way he so skillfully frames the uncertainty of parenthood against the larger uncertainty of simply living in these strange times. Perry has a generous heart and the talent to both break and rebuild our own. This is an astonishing book.” Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

“Honest, filled with doubts, often hilarious and just a little bit scary, Kids These Days is sure to appeal to all parents, new and old.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Perry’s Florida is strange and intricate . . . and Perry’s quick-witted observations and surprising plot twists unveil humor in adversity.” —Booklist

“There are some madcap elements here that recall the novels of Tim Dorsey or Laurence Shames, but the core story of Walter’s family makes the enterprise feel closer to an Alexander Payne jaunt than anything else . . . A funny, frenzied tale of a terrified man plummeting helplessly into his own adulthood.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] timely look at contemporary America, with its unexpected economic setbacks and the bargains made to surmount them . . . Readers of Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and Jonathan Tropper should enjoy this compelling novel, the story of a man in transition that might also lure a few Florida fiction fans as well.” Library Journal

From the Publisher
“Drew Perry, a terrific writer, has written a wonderful book about a man dealing with—among other things—the angst of impending fatherhood. It's sweet, soulful, smart, and funny as hell. A great read.” Dave Barry, author of Insane City

“Drew Perry’s Kids These Days is a genuinely funny book. One that will make you guffaw into your gingerbread latte until a stranger at the next table asks, 'What’s so funny?' At which point you might—as I did—end up reading pages aloud and making a scene at Starbucks. If you want a novel that serves up its humor in a venti-sized cup, this one’s for you.” —Fiction Writers Review

“This book is so funny and engaging that I was reading it and forgot to pick up my kids.” Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“Drew Perry does some amazing things in this wonderfully funny novel, not least of which is the way he so skillfully frames the uncertainty of parenthood against the larger uncertainty of simply living in these strange times. Perry has a generous heart and the talent to both break and rebuild our own. This is an astonishing book.” Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

“Honest, filled with doubts, often hilarious and just a little bit scary, Kids These Days is sure to appeal to all parents, new and old.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Perry’s Florida is strange and intricate . . . and Perry’s quick-witted observations and surprising plot twists unveil humor in adversity.” —Booklist

“There are some madcap elements here that recall the novels of Tim Dorsey or Laurence Shames, but the core story of Walter’s family makes the enterprise feel closer to an Alexander Payne jaunt than anything else . . . A funny, frenzied tale of a terrified man plummeting helplessly into his own adulthood.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] timely look at contemporary America, with its unexpected economic setbacks and the bargains made to surmount them . . . Readers of Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and Jonathan Tropper should enjoy this compelling novel, the story of a man in transition that might also lure a few Florida fiction fans as well.” Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-17
Meet Walter and Alice. They're screwed. Perry (This Is Just Exactly Like You, 2010) follows up his poignant debut novel about a father and his autistic son with a lighter novel about impending fatherhood, Hiaasen-ian Floridians and the way life carries us forward whether we want it to or not. Walter and Alice used to have a fine life in North Carolina, stable enough that they began to tiptoe toward the idea of having children. "Yes, I told her, yes, which was not quite a lie: I could easily enough see us having a child, or children. I imagined we'd keep them fed and watered, that we'd find ways not to kill them, or ourselves," Walter muses. And then life carries them forward: Walter loses his job and Alice quits hers, and they move 500 miles south to a remote vacation condo south of Jacksonville owned by Alice's sister, Carolyn. Walter is soon drawn into working for Carolyn's husband, Mid, whose considerable wealth comes from owning things: real estate, sea kayak rentals, umbrella shops, a pizza place--all the strange accoutrements that adorn the beach to leech money away from tourists. Walter is talked into running the ice machine empire while he and Alice fumble their way through a difficult pregnancy. This is an interesting book with a slightly offbeat tone. Walter, who tells the story, makes for an amusing worrywart whose fish-out-of-water state becomes more and more obvious as Mid gets arrested and Walter begins to realize that he's become attached to a serious criminal. Even Mid feels bad: "I had something else pictured. Something calmer. Fewer police, fewer wayward children, you know?" There are some madcap elements here that recall the novels of Tim Dorsey or Laurence Shames, but the core story of Walter's family makes the enterprise feel closer to an Alexander Payne jaunt than anything else. A funny, frenzied tale of a terrified man plummeting helplessly into his own adulthood.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616203481
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 440,086
  • File size: 877 KB

Meet the Author

Drew Perry’s first book, This Is Just Exactly Like You, was a finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, a SIBA Okra Pick, and an Atlanta Journal Constitution Best Book of 2010 pick. He has published fiction in Black Warrior Review, Atlanta Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, and New Stories from the South. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, and teaches at Elon University. Visit him online at www.drewperry.net.

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