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Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
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Man and Boy (1999)

by Tony Parsons

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1,435245,236 (3.29)17
  1. 00
    The best a man can get by John O'Farrell (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Same family-based theme, plenty of humour
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I love it absolutely, made me cry and think of my dad. The connection between the boy and the dad is amazing.It also makes me understand the nature of guys as well.
  hninn | Oct 21, 2012 |
Publishers have always targeted specific demographics or, as they are probably known in the trade, markets. While genre books like horror can have mass appeal, there will always be a certain type of reader attracted to romances where, for instance, a pretty nurse eventually gets off with a handsome doctor or, if targeting the middle class reader, handsome surgeon. So the movement in literature that targeted women with tales of sex, shopping, relationships and glamour became known as 'chick lit'. Initially a term of derision, this soon became a handy description of a growing body of literature that appeared to deal primarily with plucky females overcoming relationship and career woes to find true happiness through shopping for frocks, usually featuring covers that were heavy on lipstick pink fonts for the title and glitter for the author's name.

If you can have chick lit, then marketing logic (usually at its best after a long lunch) dictates you can have lad lit and, like hard bound and paperback incarnations of the glossy lads mags that sell so well to men who like beer and boobs, lad lit hit the shelves. This was followed by dad lit, lad lit for responsible adults who now wore cloths stained with baby sick father than their own. And of course, there's always the danger that chick lit, lad lit or dad lit could just be shit lit.

'Man and boy' is a dad lit shit lit crossover with lad lit tendencies. It expects that the reader will identify with the protagonist in the story; he's young, he's married to a beautiful woman, they have a wonderful five year old son, he's got a glamorous job and he drives a red sports car. Then he fucks a colleague (she's gorgeous, naturally, so at least he has taste) and his beautiful wife fucks off to Japan to work in the banking sector. He keeps the son, the sports car and his flat and manages to get an even more glamorous job, working less hours, and still finds time to pull a waitress who is not just beautiful but also exotic and foreign.

The one benefit of this trite crap is that it's undemanding. You can read it in a few hours and resume doing something fulfilling. Something tells me that when a bloke's wife leaves him and he loses his job at the same time, the immediate result is not going to be hooking up with a perky girl who serves pasta at a local restaurant. Where was the sitting around all day in your pyjamas, eating pot noodle and sobbing? Where were the letters written to the absent wife explaining just how you were a million times better off without her actually which by page ten had turned into a sorrowful entreaty to come home please because your life is over without her, and you can't work out how to select the 'delicates' setting on the washing machine. And where oh where was the drinking, starting with the drink that actually tastes like bottled sorrow - scotch - before moving on to supermarket vodka then cider on a park bench.

This is pretty much by the numbers stuff. Dad gets left with son, dad is crap initially but, surprise, eventually learns how to look after son. It also describes the relationship between the dad and his own father. There's a bit of generation gap guff about how his old man was in the war and is amazingly practical, while matey works in television and is clueless about just about everything. Essentially, it's a Journey of Self Discovery for the protagonist who concludes that hey, he's okay really.

No he's not, he's a twat at the start of the novel and he's a twat at the end of it and never mind any fictional character left emotionally scared by his wife leaving him, when I finished the last page I fancied a stiff drink and a bit of a weep.

Derivative, predictable, with a git as the lead character, and cocky lads in support, the thing could have been written to order for readers of magazines featuring near naked soap stars on the cover and edited by a focus group. ( )
1 vote macnabbs | May 12, 2012 |
Harry Silver, successful career, gorgeous wife and loveable son, he had it all. Then threw it all away in one night of temptation. The book covers a modern man with an all too common modern problem. His wife leaves for a career move abroad and he is left with a son he loves and a rapidly descending career. Very well written, made me laugh and think in equal measure. ( )
  shanklinmike | Oct 28, 2011 |
Man and Boy is a very readable book, with likeable and relatable characters. Although far from being one of my favourites, I did remember it quite clearly which generally speaks well of any book. However, I just saw Kramer vs Kramer for the first time and noticed that, while there are significant differences in the plot development, many of the most moving incidents in the book seem to have been lifted from the film. ( )
  Tess22 | Jul 10, 2011 |
An amusing, unchallenging read. Rare to find such a 'touchy feely' book written by a man. Of all the relationships depicted in the novel, the one I found the most 'real' and the one that brought a genuine lump to the throat was the one between the central character Harry and his father. Superb characterisation. On the other hand, I found Harry's wife's family harder to swallow - how come she was so different from them?

All in all an enjoyable read, though, one I would recommend. I'll definitely read the follow-up one day. ( )
  jayne_charles | Aug 31, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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For my mother
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The Most Beautiful Boy in the World - It's a boy, it's a boy! It's a little boy.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Harry Silver has it all: a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, a great jobin the media - but in one night he throws it all away. Then Harry must start to learn what life and love are really about.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0006512135, Paperback)

A fabulously engaging and exciting novel about a man who has to learn about life and love the hard way. Harry Silver has it all. A successful job in TV, a gorgeous wife, a lovely child. And in one moment of madness, he chucks it all away. Man and Boy is the story of how he comes to terms with his life and achieves a degree of self-respect, bringing up his son alone and, gradually, learning what words like love and family really mean. It is very well written, pacy, funny, and heart-breakingly moving.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A fabulously engaging and exciting novel about a man who has to learn about life and love the hard way. Harry Silver has it all. A successful job in TV, a gorgeous wife, a lovely child. And in one moment of madness, he chucks it all away. Man and Boy is the story of how he comes to terms with his life and achieves a degree of self-respect, bringing up his son alone and, gradually, learning what words like love and family really mean. It is very well written, pacy, funny, and heart-breakingly moving.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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