Tropper, Jonathan 1970-
Tropper, Jonathan 1970-
Born February 19, 1970, in New York, NY; son of David (a businessman) and Ina Tropper; married Elizabeth Parker, June 2, 1996; children: Spencer Louis. Education: Yeshiva University, B.A. (English literature), 1991; New York University, M.A. (creative writing), 1993. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Piano, martial arts.
Home—New Rochelle, NY. Agent—Simon Lipskar, Writers House, 21 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10010. E-mail—[email protected].
Plan B, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Book of Joe, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Everything Changes, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.
How to Talk to a Widower, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times.
Everything Changes is being developed into a film for Sony Pictures; The Book of Joe is being developed into a film for Warner Brothers.
Jonathan Tropper is best known for writing novels that exhibit his razor-sharp wit and intelligence while depicting family life and the ups and downs of relationships. Tropper told CA: "When I write, I enjoy using fiction to illustrate my observations and insights into the quirkier, more abstract facets of human nature…. I like to write about people who are self-aware enough to be unsatisfied with aspects of their personalities, and then place them in situations that will force those foibles to the forefront, to be dealt with along with the extenuating circumstances. It provides for me, as well as the reader, a sense of catharsis and closure that real life seldom provides."
Tropper's first novel, Plan B, addresses how five college friends, upon reaching thirty, deal with adulthood and the main issues in their lives. They try to adjust to divorce, job frustration, failed relationships, and particularly drug abuse, as four members of the group attempt to slow the fifth's downward spiral. When plan A, a standard intervention, fails, they resort to the plan B of the title: kidnapping the protagonist and holding him in a cabin in the woods until he has gone through withdrawal. In a review for Booklist, Carolyn Kubisz called the plan an excuse for the author "to explore the group's personal demons, failings, and relationships." A contributor for Publishers Weekly remarked that "the picaresque plot is diverting in a sitcom kind of way."
In his follow-up effort, The Book of Joe, Tropper again looks at turning points in a person's life. Joe Goffman, a writer who returns to his small hometown in Connecticut after his autobiographical novel becomes a bestseller, must face the anger of friends and family at the truths he has revealed. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked: "Despite its charms, … this boy-who-won't-grow-up novel relies too heavily on canned lines … and easy melodrama." On the other hand, Booklist contributor John Green found it "a first-rate tale of a thirtysomething's belated coming-of-age." Joe is forced to address people's issues with him on an adult level. In an interview for Book Reporter, Tropper discussed his protagonist's experience: "Joe goes from being a sullen, selfish loner, a self-described asshole, to suddenly seeing the value in caring for others. We all carry around a certain degree of anger or resentment toward members of our family, and letting go of it is never easy, but infinitely rewarding."
Everything Changes tells the story of Zack King, a man in his early thirties whose life is ostensibly on course yet who is restless and discontented. Tropper shows once again how easily change can come into the most settled of lives as Zack's long-absent father returns looking for absolution and he himself suffers a health scare. A Publishers Weekly critic remarked that "pithy observations on love, marriage and corporate life give the book a graceful charm." Kristine Huntley, in a review for Booklist, called the book "by turns funny and moving."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2000, Carolyn Kubisz, review of Plan B, p. 881; March 15, 2004, John Green, review of The Book of Joe, p. 1268; March 15, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Everything Changes, p. 1268.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of The Book of Joe, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, January 31, 2000, review of Plan B, p. 84; December 1, 2003, review of The Book of Joe, p. 38; February 21, 2005, review of Everything Changes, p. 156.
Book Page,http://www.bookpage.com/ (April 30, 2007), Ian Schwartz, "No Place Like Home," review of The Book of Joe.
Book Reporter,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April 15, 2007), Carol Fitzgerald, Wiley Saichek, Brandon M. Stickney, interview with Jonathan Tropper.
January Magazine,http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (April 30, 2007), Chris Gsell, "Small Town Evisceration," review of The Book of Joe.
Jonathan Tropper Home Page,http://www.jonathantropper.com (April 15, 2007).