cover image Keeper and Kid

Keeper and Kid

Edward Hardy, . . St. Martin?s/Dunne, $24.95 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37524-9

In this very funny but slight second novel, Hardy imbues the familiar cool-dude-suddenly-saddled-with-a-little-dude-he-didn’t-know-existed plot with enough giggle-worthy humor about 30-something quasibohemian life to make it more than a Nick Hornby also-ran. Jimmy Keeper is divorced from Cynthia, a pastry chef with a penchant for secrecy; he runs an antiques salvage business in Providence, R.I., and lives in a tiny house with girlfriend Leah, a self-assured architect. But after Cynthia falls gravely ill and summons him to the hospital, Keeper’s carefully constructed, somewhat man-boyish life is destined for disruption. It turns out that he and Cynthia have a three-year-old son, Leo, the secret product of a final pre-Leah fling. In due course, the boy lands in Keeper’s care, and Leah flees. Will Keeper be able to successfully take care of Leo? Will Leah be able to love Keeper despite the addition of a child not her own? Because Keeper is a companionable narrator (he’s a dude’s dude who likes beer, sex and playing cards, and yet is aware of his propensity for emotional stupidity), the quest for these answers is a fun if predictable jaunt. (Jan.)