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.