STARRED REVIEW
February 2016

Finding fatherhood

By Cristina Alger
Review by
When we meet Charlie Goldwyn, he is hurtling through life at breakneck speed. Recently widowed, Charlie is pouring all his energy into his high-pressure, high-stakes job at a prestigious corporate law firm and clearly not dealing with his grief over his wife’s death. Nearly ’round-the-clock workdays have put a serious dent in his relationship with his quirky 5-year-old son, Caleb, and are not winning Charlie any father of the year awards.
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When we meet Charlie Goldwyn, he is hurtling through life at breakneck speed. Recently widowed, Charlie is pouring all his energy into his high-pressure, high-stakes job at a prestigious corporate law firm and clearly not dealing with his grief over his wife’s death. Nearly ’round-the-clock workdays have put a serious dent in his relationship with his quirky 5-year-old son, Caleb, and are not winning Charlie any father of the year awards. Pile on a complicated relationship with his own father and you have a portrait of the workaholic, emotionally out-of-touch, modern male. 

Of course, readers know that this “life” Charlie has created is unsustainable. Cue office party and a booze-soaked moment of truth that leaves Charlie humiliated, unemployed and an instant YouTube sensation. Now jobless, Charlie is stuck at home with Caleb for the summer. What ensues is a hilarious, touching romp of a journey that finds Charlie learning what fatherhood truly means. 

Cristina Alger, author of The Darlings, has written a big, heartfelt book that reads like your favorite sitcom. Charlie’s evolution to a secure, confident stay-at-home dad is wonderfully satisfying, and he is as relatable as Will Freeman in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. This Was Not the Plan is a familiar story of love, loss, parenthood, friendship—and of finally understanding what it means to create a life that is truly in balance.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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This Was Not the Plan

This Was Not the Plan

By Cristina Alger
Touchstone
ISBN 9781501103759

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