Can a man change his stars? Can he ever really rise above? These are the questions that plague our mortal souls. Bryce Finley, a 48-year-old Canadian single father with an unfinished university degree, two almost-grown children, a tenuous grip on a middle-class existence, and no visible (future) means of support, is about to find out.
After three years of working at his local university, he decides to hit the books to show his kids he never meant to be a dropout. His eldest has already quit high school, but is there still time to show the youngest one?
But when his university job ends, completing his long-delayed education in art history proves to be financially difficult, so he jumps at the chance to study ? with the aid of a small scholarship ? as an international exchange student in Europe.
What follows is a life in a cramped student dorm in an industrial town, but one ? luckily ? that is the ideal jumping off place to tour to all of the great art capitals of Europe. Life-changing experiences follow, along with chances to reflect and improve upon a life that has been called ?a financial train wreck,? in which only one of his two kids might ever graduate from high school, and in which our hero realizes he never, ever, once-and-for-all decided what he would be when he grew up.
But that was then, this is now, and class is in session. With style, humour, and cunning linguistics, Finley shows us how he made his way through his last year of university, the great museums of Europe, the social fabric of a handful of European countries, and a few youthful romances to emerge a more-educated and potentially more-employable person.