Think Grumpy Old Men. In a nursing home.
Well, at least one of the old men is grumpy.
And that is Joel Monroe, who is in his 70s and held ‘prisoner’ at Hilltop Nursing Home. His roommate Miller, who has been in a coma, dies, and Joel, still grieving for his wife, whose bed Miller had taken over, is overcome with grief.
It doesn’t help that the nursing home has stuck him with Frank de Selby, a former soap opera actor who is full of questions, rather flamboyant and optimistic. Joel is determined not to like this new roommate but once he gets to know the real de Selby (real name Frank Adams), he realises that while they are very different people, he quite likes Frank.
Frank shares that his family has left him alone after learning that he’s gay. Joel reveals that he has been thinking of killing himself.
Sharing secrets and escaping the nursing home to get a pint in a bar and these two roommates become great friends, the kind that seem as if they’ve known each other forever.
I loved how different the two men were from each other. And how they learnt from each other and grew, in their own way.
The Great Unexpected is a charming and amusing read, a poignant tale of friendship and ageing.