Keeper and Kid

Keeper and Kid

by Edward Hardy

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312573768
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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

Read an Excerpt

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.

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Keeper and Kid 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
jacketscoversread on LibraryThing 29 days ago
I walked away for this novel with mixed emotions. It¿s a great story, none the less. But what was up with Grace? Why didn¿t Keeper just say ¿forget you,¿ or a version of that, to Leah? Does Leo ever call Keeper ¿Daddy¿?Well?As I said, none the less, this is a great book. It¿s heart wrenching and funny at the same time. This coming-of-age, ¿hero¿s journey¿ story was enjoyable, not like some I¿ve read in the past. In fact, I finished it in one afternoon, it was that good. And I certainly plan to read it again, if only just to answer my own questions. ¿She nabbed him from the pound and named him and always said that once you saved a dog from the pound there was no need to feel guilty about anything that happened after that ever.¿ {pg. 36} ¿It¿s the small futures that lead to bigger ones.¿ {pg. 286} ¿My mom once sad that people can get to good places in very strange ways¿¿ {pg. 294}And if you would like to read an inverview with Edward Hardy, Lisa conducted one here. If you want to win a copy of Keeper and Kid, Lisa is giving one away here. You have until March 27th to enter.
coolmama on LibraryThing 29 days ago
LOVED this first novel by fellow Ithacan Ed Hardy!Keeper, a slacker in life, works at a junk yard (aka architectural salvage) in Providence, loves his girlfriend but won't commit; and receives an odd phone call from his ex-wife's mother informing him that his ex-wife is quite ill.Without giving away the story, the 3 year old in the book is simply adorable - the quirky dialogue is true to life ("pick me") and this book just warmed by heart from beginning to end.
Kanellio on LibraryThing 29 days ago
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. 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. 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.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. 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kanellio65 More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.