Review: The Last Birthday Party by Gary Goldstein

by Joli
Book Review: The Last Birthday Party by Gary Goldstein

The Last Birthday Party is a forthcoming release from local Minnesota publisher Hadleigh House, and it was just a fun read all around. More details in my review below!


There’s nothing fabulous about 50 for L.A. film critic Jeremy Lerner, who loses his marriage, his job, and the use of his right arm just days after the birthday party he begged his now ex-wife not to throw him. But fate is a sly devil.

Jeremy’s string of calamities leads to a game-changing emotional and creative rebirth after he meets Annabelle, a beguiling, intoxicating widow who comes to his rescue — and Jeremy to hers. If only their baggage didn’t match quite so well.

With the added support of his wise and spirited mom, Joyce, his capricious and big-hearted son, Matty, and Matty’s steadfast new boyfriend, Gabe, Jeremy begins to change in ways that surprise, inspire, and galvanize him. All of this while his career makes a head-spinning leap.

The thing is, can it last?


This book was just a hoot. It was funny, endearing, and just a good book overall.

Jeremy is a likable guy, if a bit hapless, but that makes him really accessible as a main character. I think we can all identify with that moment when something big goes wrong, and you realize you’ve seen it coming but just…didn’t want to think about it, so you didn’t. And now it’s here, and you’re screwed.

That’s the situation we meet Jeremy in (on the day after his 50th birthday), and it just goes from bad to worse very quickly when his wife is gone and then he falls and injures his shoulder (while trying to reach the alcohol cuz, well, his wife is gone).

Honestly, after that, not much really happens in this book. Sure, Jeremy is in the midst of figuring out his love life and his career, but there’s not really much for action here. I love a good character-driven novel, so this was fine with me. It does have to be GOOD though, and this one fit the bill.

The author’s writing style was super enjoyable, and he added a lot of wit. Jeremy was just a funny dude a lot, even while he was going through hell. The supporting characters, too, had their share of fun things to say. Dialogue was banter-y and fun to read, and they often cracked jokes that were great and kept me engaged.

Overall, I really liked this one. It was a quick, enjoyable read that I’d recommend to anyone looking for something “light” but with depth and heart. Oh, and there’s cake on the cover, so beware, you may crave cake every time you pick it up 🍰🙃. 4 stars.

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