The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey
Published 4/14/20 by Berkley
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I also won this in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to them, too!
Meet Duffy, an old curmudgeon who lives in an assisted living home.
Meet Josie, a desperate young woman who climbs through his window.
Together, they’re going to learn it’s never too late—or too early—to change your ways.
For Duffy Sinclair, life boils down to one simple thing: maintaining his residence at the idyllic Centennial Assisted Living. Without it, he’s destined for the roach-infested nursing home down the road—and after wasting the first eighty-eight years of his life, he refuses to waste away for the rest. So, he keeps his shenanigans to the bare minimum with the help of his straight-laced best friend and roommate, Carl Upton.
But when Carl’s granddaughter Josie climbs through their bedroom window with booze on her breath and a black eye, Duffy’s faced with trouble that’s sticking around and hard to hide—from Centennial’s management and Josie’s toxic boyfriend. Before he knows it, he’s running a covert operation that includes hitchhiking and barhopping.
He might as well write himself a one-way ticket to the nursing home…or the morgue. Yet Duffy’s all in. Because thanks to an unlikely friendship that becomes fast family—his life doesn’t boil down the same anymore. Not when he finally has a chance to leave a legacy.
In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.
Trigger warnings: Cheating, alcohol addiction, thoughts of suicide, grieving the death of a loved one, death, and mention of dementia/Alzheimer’s.
This was one of the purest novels I have ever read. It takes place in an assisted living facility called Centennial, where Duffy and Carl currently reside. Both of them are in pretty good shape for being in their eighties. They pick at the staff, specifically Nora and Anderson. The only problem is new management—she’s a WITCH. Anything out of place with the residents, and they go straight to the nursing home down the road, and it’s filthy!
Carl and Duffy are hilarious together. Carl likes to keep things cool and collected, while Duffy tends to stir the pot. He does try to tone it down since the nasty nursing home is looming over everyone’s head. Duffy also has a crush on Alice, another resident.
One day, a young girl named Josie climbs through their window with a black eye and boozy breath. She ends up being Carl’s granddaughter that Duffy didn’t even know existed. Carl and Duffy share everything with each other, except a shameful past apparently.
What I loved most about this is how real the characters are. The only problem I had was that the age of some of them didn’t match how they acted, Duffy especially. I know that there are eighty-year-olds who can still do a lot, but I just had a hard time wrapping my head around it. Other than that, these characters have so many flaws and so much baggage. Josie lies a lot about her black eye and about whether she has an alcohol addiction or not. What’s even better is that they are all confronted about their lies and secrets. It’s quite refreshing to see that. I think it helps the characters connect more than if nothing was brought to the surface. A lot of good discussions in here, and I think it would make a good book club pick.
There isn’t much of a plot here. There was a brief section where I got a bit bored right before the ending. This was the main reason I couldn’t give it the full five-stars. There was a lull in the book that I ended up skimming. It was only a few pages before it started to pick up again.
That ending, though! It truly broke my heart. I don’t know what I expected the ending to be, but I think I was just in denial. I subconsciously knew what was going to happen. The author did manage to bring light to the situation, and the book didn’t really end on a sad note. I appreciated that a lot!
Would I recommend this? Yes, of course! It was super cute and funny. There’s a lot of character development and important discussions. The author handles everything quite well, in my opinion. It just came out today. So go show the author some love and buy it or ask your library to buy it so you can read it!
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