“Funny, sad, and smart . . . Part wacky road novel, part romantic comedy, McAllister's debut flies along yet reaches deep.” —Stewart O'Nan, author of West of Sunset
For Hunter Cady, meeting Kaitlyn is the greatest thing that has ever happened to him. Whereas he had spent most of his days accomplishing very little, now his life has a purpose. Smart, funny, and one of a kind, Kait is somehow charmed by Hunter’s awkwardness and droll humor, and her love gives him reason to want to be a better man.
And then, suddenly, Kait is gone, her death as unexpected as the happiness she had brought to Hunter. Numb with grief, he stumbles forward in the only way he knows how: by running away. He heads due west from his Philadelphia home, taking Kait’s ashes with him.
Kait and Hunter had always meant to travel. Now, with no real plan in mind, Hunter is swept into the adventures of fellow travelers on the road, among them a renegade Renaissance Faire worker; a boisterous yet sympathetic troop of bachelorettes; a Midwest couple and Elvis, their pet parrot; and an older man on an endless cross-country journey in search of a wife who walked out on him many years before. Along the way readers get glimpses of Hunter and Kait’s lovely, flawed, and very real marriage, and the strength Hunter draws from it, even when contemplating a future without it. And each encounter, in its own peculiar way, teaches him what it means to be a husband and what it takes to be a man.
Written in the spirit of Jonathan Tropper and Matthew Quick, with poignant insight and wry humor, The Young Widower’s Handbook is a testament to the enduring power of love.
About the Author
A Philadelphia native, Tom McAllister lives in New Jersey, teaches at Temple, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, an editor at Barrelhouse, and the author of a memoir, Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly. The Young Widower's Handbook is his first novel.
"The vivid romantic reminiscences and startling humor make McAllister's debut novel rather life-affirming."
“McAllister writes with heartfelt emotion about the sudden death of a spouse in this remarkable debut novel.”
“McAllister’s debut novel is at turns funny and touching, particularly in the vignettes sandwiched between the narrative, which delve into Hunter’s thoughts and feelings about his marriage and his wife. Expect comparisons to Jonathan Tropper and Nick Hornby.”
“A quirky, well-told fiction debut.”
“Funny, sad, and smart, The Young Widower’s Handbook is a brilliant meditation on love, loss and loneliness. Part wacky road novel, part romantic comedy, Tom McAllister's debut novel flies along yet reaches deep.”
—Stewart O'Nan, author of West of Sunset
“The Young Widower’s Handbook is a stunning, clear-eyed examination of the complexity of grief. In McAllister's hands, this story of a man dealing with the loss of his wife takes on such depth and surprising humor that you can't help but give yourself over, heart and soul, to Hunter's journey.”
—Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
"[McAllister] does a wonderful job developing compelling characters in a believable situation. For readers who want to experience a tumultuous adventure through deep grief, wrestle through acceptance, and experience its catharsis, Handbook absolutely delivers.”
“[A] sweetly moving debut.”