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The Rich Part of Life
Cover of The Rich Part of Life
The Rich Part of Life
A Novel
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Teddy Pappas is an eleven-year-old boy forced into maturity before his time. He lives with his younger brother and their eccentric Civil War historian father, a man more comfortable with discussing...
Teddy Pappas is an eleven-year-old boy forced into maturity before his time. He lives with his younger brother and their eccentric Civil War historian father, a man more comfortable with discussing...
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  • Teddy Pappas is an eleven-year-old boy forced into maturity before his time. He lives with his younger brother and their eccentric Civil War historian father, a man more comfortable with discussing Confederate footwear than what kind of day his sons had. Their lives have been quiet for a year since the real lifeblood of their household, Teddy's mother, died in a tragic car accident. On the one-year anniversary of her death, Teddy's stoic father plays his wife's favorite lottery numbers in a tender, uncharacteristic act. When it turns out that the family holds the $190 million winning ticket, their world is instantly transformed.



    Seemingly overnight, a host of colorful characters demands their attention, including Teddy's hilarious aunt and uncle, a beautiful divorcée, a desperate former soap opera star, and a menacing stranger who threatens the very core of the family. As events spiral out of control, the family struggles to discover what "the rich part of life" really is.



    Featuring a unique father-child bond, Jim Kokoris's moving first novel is flavored with the rich characterizations and poignant charm of early John Irving. Creating the perfect balance of humor and pathos, Kokoris takes us on an unforgettable journey through the ups and downs of this revelation of unexpected wealth.



About the Author-

  • JIM KOKORIS is the author of the novels The Rich Part of Life, which has been published in fifteen languages and for which he won a Friends of American Writers Award for Best First Novel, Sister North, and The Pursuit of Other Interests. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Jim lives in the Chicago area with his family.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 16, 2001
    A lottery fantasy comes with strings attached for a reclusive history professor in Kokoris's quirky, engaging debut, which begins when widowed academic Theo Pappas hits the jackpot to the tune of $190 million by playing his late wife's favorite numbers. But a quiet life of studying the Civil War in the Chicago suburbs and caring for two young sons has hardly prepared him for instant wealth, and after banking the cash he finds himself fending off an army of scam artists who want a piece of his newfound prosperity. Some of those with a vested interest are family members—most notably Theo's cheesy younger brother, Frank, an erstwhile filmmaker who shows up looking for cash after his latest B-movie fails. Frank is followed by one of his shadier charges, an aging actor named Sylvanius who played a vampire in a daytime soap opera, and family life gets a bit complicated when Sylvanius takes a romantic interest in Theo's aging Aunt Bess, who has made the journey down from Milwaukee. But the biggest shock is the arrival of Theo's wife's first husband, a redneck named Bobby Lee Anderson, who claims to be the biological father of the professor's older son, Teddy, the precocious 12-year-old who narrates the story. The custody battle that follows generates most of the drama in this novel of character, and Kokoris gets considerable mileage from the extensive foibles of his bizarre cast. A subtle sense of humor—as sweet as it is wicked—and winning dialogue keep up the momentum, and Kokoris smartly steers clear of the obvious clichés of newfound wealth inherent in his plot. The result is a winning tale that bodes well for this writer's future. Author tour.

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    St. Martin's Press
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Jim Kokoris
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