Humorous first novel all about life after pink slip

By Sarah Breivoge….
“There’s nothing amusing about getting laid off — except when it’s a story told by the brilliant Terry Shine, one of the funniest writers I know.”
—Dave Barry

Nothing Happens Until It Happens To You (Crown, 304 pages, $23 hardcover), is T.M. Shine’s all-too-real debut novel about a man forced to leave behind the security and predictability of his past to face his dysfunctional family and a world disinclined to do him any favors.
Jeffrey Reiner has been fired — but he is not crying about it. Though a self-designed social misfit, he accepts the advice that to make it in these tough economic times he has no choice but to throw himself at any opportunities that come his way, no matter how humbling or embarrassing.
Egged on by a slacker neighbor, an unorthodox state facilitator, and a 1-800 mental health counselor, Reiner stumbles into a highly comic and entirely outrageous journey of self-discovery.
Reiner realizes his job loss may have become the catalyst for his own family’s unraveling: His teenage daughter has dismissed him; his only son may have the genetic wiring of a serial killer (a reality he fears he may have never picked up on if he hadn’t lost his job), and he’s certain his wife is having an affair but is too frightened by the truth (that having an affair includes sex) to confront her.
Trying to stretch his meager severance, he takes on sporadic day work trying everything from dressing as the Statue of Liberty to breeding suckerfish to cleaning pools at foreclosed homes. (Shine has plenty of inspiration to draw from, having worked his own odd jobs, including: pizza deliveryman, lab courier, shellfish harvester, gas attendant, sweepstakes mail sorter, school bus driver, demolition man, drugstore manager, and box maker.)
Despite receiving a strict daily itinerary from his estranged wife to keep him on track, Reiner inadvertently finds himself veering off course. Suddenly he is trying to balance the search for a job with the hunt for a man he no longer knows.
Inspired by a cover story Shine wrote for the Washington Post Magazine (after losing his job of nearly 18 years) called “Terminated: Desperately Seeking Plan B,” Nothing Happens Until It Happens To You showcases Shine’s mordant wit and perfect comic timing.
T. M. Shine is an award-winning journalist and author based in South Florida who has written on topics ranging from spending a month in fourth grade at the age of 32 to hunting down an elusive Lizard Man in the backwoods of South Carolina.
A frequent contributor to the Washington Post Magazine, he has written for numerous publications and been featured on National Public Radio’s This American Life. He is the author of two memoirs: Fathers Aren’t Supposed to Die and Timeline: A Month in the Life of a Guy Who Refuses. He is also the inventor of “whimsical mowing” and the “chew kiss.”
Shine will be speaking and signing his new book at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables on Thursday, Oct 7, at 8 p.m. He also will be appearing at the Miami International Book Fair in November.


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