e’s a pretty good guy, Robert. Reasonably honest, compassionate, dependable—okay, maybe he’s a little too sarcastic, but all in all, he’s a decent human being. Which is exactly how his fucked-up family takes advantage of him, and why, since college, he’s strived to avoid them.
With the surprising death of his father, however, he finds himself being drawn back into the horrifying familial abyss. At its core is Robert’s mother Helen: she’s the glue that binds them—or rather, the sucking tar pit that entraps them? After her husband’s death, Helen embraces the role of “martyred widow” with the fervor of Mary Todd Lincoln. Robert’s older sister is Darlene—a born-again Christian with a successful husband, two perfect children and an addiction to alcohol, pills and extramarital sex. She believes Robert judges her, and she resents him deeply for it. His brother Lenny, on the other hand, resents Robert because he has a steady income. Ten years Robert’s senior, Lenny is still trying to live out the rock ‘n’ roll dream with his dying band, Pink Lloyd. Plagued by an enormous lack of talent, thinning hair and a hanging gut, at 45, Lenny is wildly bitter about life.
Though his mother is vastly unimpressed with Robert and uncertain what he does exactly for a living, she’s smart enough to realize that he is her only reliable offspring. And she works his sense of humanity like a maestro. To Robert’s perennial chagrin, his mother adores his older brother Lenny, while she remains blithely unaware that he’s a colossal failure. At the same time, she casually lobs damaging asides at her emotionally teetering daughter with the abandon of a troubled kid plucking wings off a fly. But, when all is said and done, Robert knows that beneath the darkness of his mother’s disparaging and stinging remarks… well, there’s a darker side.
Things begin to change for Robert when he meets Amy, the beautiful sister of his gay, overweight, paraplegic neighbor. Amy is an astonishingly independent woman who captures his heart, and makes him realize that he doesn’t have to remain the victim of a destructive family. Meanwhile, Robert’s getting to know and care about his sister’s 10-year-old son Danny. During which, he sees that Danny’s childhood is similar to his own—that Robert’s sister is another version of his mother. These revelations—in the midst of his family’s jaw-dropping acts of selfishness—lead Robert to make the most crucial decision of his life.
Your family is your family.
Robert Nirth has always believed that.