Jonathan Tropper earned a graduate degree in writing at New York University and now lives in Westchester, New York.
The background music is decidedly not Marvin Gaye but the tone is definitely The Big Chill. Four college friends launch an unusual reunion in New York City when they kidnap a drug-addicted friend. The plan, resorted to when Plan A failed, is to get their good friend and now movie star Jack Shaw to come clean long enough to get his life back on track. Given that life is not exactly on track for any of them, it is no surprise when things go awry. Coming together--and almost falling apart--give each of them a chance to recapture or let go of dreams and move on. There is Chuck, comic relief and surgeon-to-be; Alison, bright young lawyer trapped in unrequited love; Lindsey, former teacher, now queen of the temps; and Ben, the narrator, a would-be-writer without a story. Funny, sweet, and sometimes bitter, this first novel should be a popular read among twentysomethings about to turn 30. Recommended for public libraries.--Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The title of Tropper's debut novel refers to the madcap plot at its center, and also to one of the book's primary themes--that life rarely works according to plan. Nobody knows this better than Ben, the narrator, who wants to be a novelist, but finds himself at age 30 stuck in a low-level publishing job in New York City, on the cusp of a sad and bloodless divorce, and envious of his closest college friends: Lindsey, the spirited ex-girlfriend who's always followed her heart; attorney Alison; surgeon Chuck; and movie star Jack Shaw, who earns $13 million a picture. But Jack, it turns out, is also a cocaine addict whose drug-fueled escapades are increasingly finding their way into the tabloids. When an intervention attempt fails, his friends turn to Plan B: they kidnap Jack and keep him captive in the Catskills until he shakes his habit for good. Of course, holding a mega-celebrity against his will is no simple matter, and complications abound. Jack turns violent, then vanishes, the local-yokel sheriff's department starts poking around and soon enough the FBI and the media are involved. Meanwhile, the remaining friends are forging new bonds (platonic and otherwise) and confronting encroaching fears of aging. Despite Ben's exaggerated Gen-X voice--by turns jaded and facile, glib and bleak--the picaresque plot is diverting in a sitcom kind of way. The characters are unlikely as friends but entertaining as Friends, and Tropper keeps the story moving at a brisk pace with crackling TV dialogue. Agent, Simon Lipskar. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"If "The Big Chill" had Gen X angst, you would probably have something like "Plan B."..[Tropper] does it with wit, insight, and a lot of fun cultural references to the '80s."-- "Booklist" "Madcap...Entertaining as "Friends."..Tropper keeps the story moving at a brisk pace with crackling TV dialogue."-- "Publishers Weekly" "To Tropper's credit, "Plan B" is a bit like life-- or at least, like entertainment."-- "Los Angeles Times"