If you are coming up to 30, whatever you do, don't do any of that.
It will fuck up your whole day.
So begins Man and Boy, Tony Parson's foray into fiction. Or non-fiction. Rumoured to be a roman à clef, the well-known journalist and broadcaster writes the story of a successful TV executive who brings up his child alone after a failed marriage--much like Parson's own life.
Harry Silver, the book's anti-hero, has it all: a beautiful wife, an angelic son and a high-paying job. His life is just about perfect, until one night he casually sleeps with a slim redheaded coworker who has "that kind of fine Irish skin that is so pale it looks as though it has never seen the sun". After the fateful night, his life falls apart. He loses his job and his wife in rapid succession, and finds himself a single, unemployed parent. It is an excellent education for a man who up until now has been immature and irresponsible, and Parsons has some strong points to make about the puerility of far too many contemporary males: "Being a man is like being chained to the village idiot." At times he piles on the disasters and plot-twists a little too thickly, but the ending is wildly romantic, redemptive and optimistic. In other words, Harry grows up. -- Christopher Hart...Continua
Harry, at the age of thirty, had come into possession of most of the things all people would desire. Gina, a glamorous wife sacrificing her career getting married with him; Pat, a pretty and loving little son; a well-paid job as the producer of a TV live show; a luxury car MGF.
However, one day, after the worst show ever in his life, Harry could not restrain himself from a one-night-stand with his colleague, Siobhan. It was the time when all things were blown up: Gina left him for Japan, leaving Pat for him to bring up for 4 months as a single-parent, and his losing the job although there was no connection with his affair.
Low times made one grow. Through learning how to take care of Pat, Harry realized that career was nothing compared with his son. He changed to be a part-time producer, simply for earning to pay the mortgage. Harry met Cyd, who having similar background like him, taught him what true love actually was. He discovered the self-consciousness of love, and the difference between what one wanted and the loved one wanted. Harry also encountered the passing away of his seemingly-undefeatable father. That came as a huge shock to him, making him rethink how close the resemblance between strength and tenderness could be. Towards the end, Harry grew up to be an actual man, one that was willing to take up responsibilities and care others. He started a new life with Cyd and her daughter, and let go of his dear Pat.
"The sound of Gina sleeping never failed to stir an enormous tenderness in me.'"
"Still, you can get tired of always being the man who pays the mortgage and calls the plumber and can't put together the self-assembly furniture. You get tired of being that man because in the end you don't feel like much of a man at all, more of a domestic appliance."
"I had heard somewhere that a problem at work is like a plane crash that you can walk away from. It's not like your home life, where you can't get away from your problems, no matter how far you run."
"I've worked out that nobody is interested in a woman who stays at home with her child. Not even her husband. Especially not her husband."
"I had spent so long being terrified that finally having my worst fears realized brought a kind of bleak relief."
"Even when relations between us had been strained, he was always my shield, my guardian, my greatest ally. Even when we bickered and fought, even when I disappointed him or let him down, I was always secure in the knowledge that he would still do anything for me."
"If you love someone then you don't just see them as an extension of yourself. You don't just love them for what's in it for you... Love means knowing when to let go."...Continua
Although the plot of this story may seem common, the way that he tells the story of this family and how they inevitably fall apart, gives you a sense of raw reality and definitely not a sense of a "fairy tale". Even though you, as the reader, are helplessly hoping for that happy ending. Parsons' writing will have you laughing out loud and move you to tears....Continua
Touchy and funny, full of tenderness in the relationship between kid, dad and grandad.
Characters: Harry Silver
A pleasant surprise and a very bittersweet read. I appreciated more than I thought I would.
It's the story of how a father - left by his wife after he cheated on her on a one night stand - has to suddenly learn how to be a good father for his 4-year-old son. From washing his hair to taking him to the park, to cooking healthy food for him, and have the boy actually eat it.
It was a quick read, and I loved the characters. It's a bittersweet book about relationships, about fathers, about growing up and finding a direction in your life. The final part is soberly tragic, it had me hold my breath while reading, because I could relate, and because of how well the writer could convey the way one feels in certain moments in their life. Touching, but not melodramatic, so, beautiful.
I recommend it: it's a good, intelligent, entertaining and heartening read :)...Continua