Bumpy road-trip

Have a fun ride with Sidney Karger in his new novel.


I hadn’t heard of a babymoon before reading Sidney Karger’s delightfully engaging new novel, “The Bump,” but it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense. A babymoon, for those of you who also missed out on this growing trend, is a fabulous getaway that couples take prior to the birth of their baby. Babymoons have gotten so popular of late that magazines are now publishing stories with headlines like “25 Babymoon Ideas” (Brides Magazine) and “25 Best Babymoon Destinations Around the World” (Travel and Leisure).

In Karger’s novel, Wyatt and Biz, unmarried partners on the cusp of fatherhood by surrogate, decide to take a road trip and hit up their favorite gay hotspots before their baby’s arrival. “We can do Fire Island, P-town, Miami, then maybe Saugatuck,” suggests Biz. Wyatt, who is the more pragmatic of the two, is concerned about Biz’s need to let loose before the baby’s arrival: “It feels like he doesn’t want the responsibility, or worse, like he’s changing his mind entirely about being a father.”

The story unfolds through both Biz and Wyatt’s perspectives in alternating first-person chapters. Biz is a former child actor, whose career didn’t quite have the same Barbie-pink trajectory as fellow child actor Ryan Gosling. When the novel begins, Biz is working as a food writer for a magazine, covering the Italian cuisine beat.

Wyatt, whose father walked out on the family when he and his brother were young, has aspirations to be a film director, but is instead directing “dopey commercials that no one pays attention to” for companies like Mucinex and Home Depot.

The novel begins with Wyatt wondering if he and Biz are on the verge of breaking up. Hoping to get their relationship back on track before the baby arrives, they set out on their babymoon with their “adorable but anxious mini-Airedale terrier,” Matilda, named for the first Broadway show they saw together.

Stop No. 1 is P-town. On their first morning there, Biz finds out he’s been laid off from the magazine he writes for. Before he figures out how to tell Wyatt that they are soon to be a one-income family with a baby and a dog living in Brooklyn, Wyatt gets a frantic call from his mother, informing him that his brother’s been in an accident and he should come home right away.

There goes the babymoon!

But what they still have is a road trip. Only instead of hotspots and hijinks, they are hit with unexpected family issues, confrontations, and reconciliations that add a depth and dimension to the story and to this couple as they work through their issues. An additional point of dramatic tension is that their surrogate, Flora, calls to let them know that there may be a complication with her pregnancy.

The novel moves along in high gear, and is a terrific beach read for the season ahead. And for those who prefer listening to their books, the audiobook is narrated by Ryan Spahn and Michael Urie, who have both performed at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.

Karger, who is also a screenwriter and the author of the 2023 novel “Best Men,” has been visiting the Vineyard with his partner, Jean-Michel Placent, for more than a decade.

Sidney Karger will be signing at Edgartown Books on Saturday, June 8, from 1 to 3 pm.