It's. Nice. Outside. ; Jim Kokoris
St. Martin's Press - 2015
Poor John Nichols, fifty-seven, has a lot on his plate. Father to (2) grown daughters and a nineteen year-old developmentally challenged son who often behaves like a 3 year-old, John's also divorced from Mary, a woman he still loves -- she kicked him out after he cheated on her.
"Note: I wasn't a full-fledged philanderer. In more than thirty years of marriage, I only stepped out with one woman, lovely Rita, and it didn't last long. Then I came to my senses, confessed all, begged forgiveness, had a bar of soap thrown at my head, had a bar of soap hit me in the head, and was told to move out. Nine months later I was a divorced fifty-five year old man, living alone, trying to decide whether to have Dominos for lunch, and mac and cheese for dinner, or mac and cheese for lunch and Dominos for dinner."
John's had more disappointments in life as well, he's an ex-basketball player, ex-English teacher, and one-time author. One thing he's sure about is that he cares deeply for his family. He evens attends a support group for parents with special needs kids. (Ethan's diagnosis was global brain damage - an extra chromosome on the 9th cell and later classified as mildly autistic.)
The story begins with John and son Ethan traveling by van from Illinois to South Carolina for daughter Karen's wedding. John decided to take the car route with Ethan as last time they traveled by plane Ethan had a meltdown and the results were disastrous. This trip proves challenging as well, as along the way Ethan tests his father's patience and the trip takes much longer than planned.
When the family eventually hooks up both Karen and John have unexpected news to share with the family that shocks the other family members.
This was such a sweet story. The author does an amazing job for capturing what life might be life for parents with children developmental challenges. Readers who love heartfelt stories and reading about quirky characters and dysfunctional families should give this one a try. I was so happy I tried this one. I definitely plan to read other books by this author - this was my kind of story for sure.