‘The Great Unexpected’ Is A Celebration of Life [REVIEW]

You’re never too old to get in step with a new friend. (Photo by Canva)

“Aging stinks. Especially if you have to do it alone. In a nursing home. And now they want to assign a roommate? Can life possibly get any worse? Oh yeah, did I mention the new guy is famous?” When two old men with nothing in common are made to share living quarters, will they become bitter enemies or fast friends? Find out in Dan Mooney’s delightful new novel, The Great Unexpected. 


Park Row Books

Meet Joel. He’s a cantankerous old coot. In fact, he rather seems to revel in his crankiness. Not that he has a ton of things in life to be ecstatic about. After all, his wife is dead. He’s estranged from his family. And he’s living in a senior center where there are rules for everything: when to eat, sleep, and take his medicine. He got along just fine in life without all these busybodies telling him what to do all the blasted time. So yes, the one thing he can control is his attitude, and he’s perfectly fine being a curmudgeon.

Enter Frank. He’s everything that Joel isn’t: charming, distinguished, and a real smooth talker. But then again, that kind of goes with the territory since he’s a retired soap opera star. It’s no shock then that all these seniors, and even the nursing home staff, are a bit enamored with the aging actor. The funny thing is, he’s more than just an enigma, he’s a good listener with a big heart and a sense of adventure that hasn’t waned yet. Thus, despite their differences, Joel and Frank forge a fast friendship, especially when Frank takes Joel’s side in matters. Suddenly, life is a bit brighter for both of them, especially when they start cooking up a plan for how to escape the home and seize the chance for a new beginning.

Having spent a great deal of time around aging friends and family, I think Mooney does a spectacular job capturing what it is like for people to get older, face their mortality, watch their peers die, and ultimately lose their joie de vivre as a result. Yet even though this is a book dealing with a very serious subject, one which doesn’t pull any punches and openly showcases the trials and tribulations of a man in the latter days of his life, the novel itself isn’t so steeped in the negative aspects of aging that it pulls the reader down the rabbit hole of despair.

On the contrary, The Great Unexpected is a novel that celebrates life, is infused with humor and friendship and second chances. There are many scenes where it is simply laugh-out-loud funny. It opens our hearts to look for friendships where we least expect them. It also reminds us that the senior citizens in our lives are still viable people, have much to give in the way of heart and experience, and can ultimately enrich our lives if we only let them. In many ways, this is the kind of story that Hollywood has tried to tell on occasion with films like The InternFried Green Tomatoes, Book Club and The Sunshine Boys. If the producers out there are aware, they’ll make this one a hit movie too!

If you love novels that can by turns break your heart and lift your spirits, that can challenge your preconceived notions of friendship and how we should deal with aging family members, and which ultimately leave you smiling and wishing for more, you can’t go wrong with Dan Mooney’s The Great Unexpected. This is a novel that shines!

Add to Goodreads badge

Dan Mooney

Dan Mooney


Dan Mooney is the author of Me, Myself and Them. He is an amateur filmmaker and air traffic controller, and a friend to many cats. He wrote his first piece of fiction for a child-operated local newspaper at age ten and has been writing ever since. He lives in Ireland.

Visit Dan at his home on the Web at DanMooneyAuthor.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

By Dan Mooney
368 pp. Park Row Books. $15.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Great Unexpected at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, HarlequinIndieBound, and Powell’s.

The Great Unexpected is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to ‘The Great Unexpected’ Is A Celebration of Life [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Dan Mooney, author of THE GREAT UNEXPECTED, on tour June/July 2019 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Sara Strand says:

    I m such a sucker for a book about aging characters so you know I’m all in on this one! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: