At mid-life, Peter Sanguedolce has learned that having a big heart and good intentions are not enough. Divorced (again), he's slowly losing everything he cares about, including his family's sewer pipe business and, possibly, shared custody of his young daughter, Jeannette. His ex-wife, Avis, and her new husband, Elliot, are poised to remove Jeanette from Peter's unraveling life.
As a (former) salesman, Peter knows how to read people-when to listen, when to push-and he distrusts Elliot. When Avis ramps up a campaign to send Jeanette to boarding school, Peter pays closer attention to everything: a comment from Jeannette,
Elliot's odd behavior toward her, and Avis's determination to send their daughter away.
In the midst of the search for a new school, Peter is drawn into a foolhardy plan to reconnect his elderly former neighbor and friend, Jacob, with his estranged daughter, whom Peter had, in his youth, admired from afar. But just when everything could spin out of control, Peter focuses on his daughter above all else, and once again sets out on a journey, this time to protect Jeanette.
In this bittersweet story about blood families and also the families we make, and about small working class towns and fading dreams, Robert McKean gives us a subtle riff on The Merchant of Venice as well as the touching and often funny story of a man creating his own second chances in life.