What’s it about?
Frank’s wife leaves him for a mechanic she met when she took a class called “Know Your Car.” The book is about a man dealing with profound grief, caring for his daughter, coming to terms with his part in a marriage that seems to have failed. It asks the question: When is a marriage worth saving, and when is it best to let it go?
What was the inspiration?
I had written a book about divorce from the woman’s point of view. Now I wanted to try it from the man’s. I also wanted an excuse to write about a guy who plays a Santa-I always wondered what that would be like. Say When was a CBS movie, called “A Very Married Christmas” starring Joe Montegna.
“At four-thirty he went downstairs to stand beside the sofa where she lay sleeping. He heard her breathing, recognized the familiar pattern. He thought of a time when Ellen told him about a game show where the host asked husbands to try to identify their wife’s hand-they could see nothing else of her. Most of the men couldn’t do it. ‘Could you recognize mine?’ Ellen had asked, and he’d shrugged, irritated — he didn’t like questions like that, what was the point in questions like that? ‘No, but…could you?’ she’d asked again and he’d said…yes, he remembered this exactly, he’d said, ‘I don’t know, Ellen. Probably not. How would I? It’s a hand.'”