Peter Sanguedolce is stuck and he knows it. He also knows he needs to do something about it but isn't sure what. It seems like yesterday that he was the head of the business he inherited and brought back from the edge of poverty. He was married to a woman he loved and had a daughter, Jeanette, that he adored. Then things went wrong. The business failed during an economic downturn and he had to lay off all the workers, some of whom had worked there for decades. His wife had an affair with her law partner and left Peter to marry him. Now he only sees his daughter for proscribed periods and it seems that Elliot, the new husband, has more say about her than Peter does. He still lives in his childhood home with the same furnishings he grew up with and tons of maintenance needed.
Two things get Peter moving. After his daughter has an accident while under his care, his visits with her are reduced to supervised times of two hours, supervised by Elliot. His wife is now pregnant with Elliot's child and she and her new husband have decided that they will send Jeanette out of state to boarding school. Peter's lawyer thinks they have a chance of fighting that decision but tells Peter he needs to sell off the remaining business assets and get himself in order. Peter knows he is right but is still unsure what to do. He starts a relationship with a new woman but knows it is temporary. He visits the boarding school and impresses the headmistress but is that what he wanted to do? He is the key figure in reconciling his old neighbor with his estranged daughter but why can't he do the same for himself?
Robert McKean has written a wonderful novel about family relationships and the necessity of adjusting to life changes as we age. Peter is a loveable character, stuck but trying to do the best for his daughter and his life. He is a great friend to those who need him and even his wife comes back to him for advice and comfort at times. The reader will cheer for Peter and follow his adventures hoping that things will turn out well for this man who always did what he thought was right but whom life hit in the face. I was left with warm feelings and hope for Peter and his daughter in the future and I loved seeing him change over the course of the novel. This book is recommended for literary fiction readers and those interested in family relationships.