From the New York Times bestselling author of Girls Like Us comes a “funny, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting look” (Sarah Pekkanen) at fatherhood, love, and family life.
Charlie Goldwyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with his quirky five-year-old son, Caleb, whose obsession with natural disasters and penchant for girls’ clothing have made him something of a loner at his preschool. The only thing Charlie has going for him is his job at a prestigious law firm, where he is finally close to becoming a partner.
But when a slight lapse in judgment at an office party leaves him humiliatingly unemployed, stuck at home with Caleb for the summer, and forced to face his own estranged father, Charlie starts to realize that there’s more to fatherhood than financially providing for his son, and more to being a son than overtaking his father’s successes.
At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, This Was Not the Plan is a “sparkling and heartfelt” (Bookpage) story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means.
Alger's (The Darlings) new novel of love, loss, and parenthood is readable and relatable. Charlie Goldwyn, the widowed father of Caleb, his idiosyncratic five-year-old, works hellish hours in hopes of making partner at his powerful Manhattan law firm. Instead, he is fired after a drunken rant turns him into an unwitting YouTube sensation. When his twin sister, Zadie who took over Caleb's care after Charlie's wife died in a plane crash takes a vacation, he becomes his son's primary caregiver. Still grief-stricken and hyper-focused on winning back his job, he is overwhelmed by fatherhood. His struggles to become the father that his free-spirited wife wanted him to be are by turns funny and moving, as are his musings about his job. That said, there are some issues: Charlie's mother's part in Charlie's estrangement from his father strikes a sour, unresolved note. And after Zadie involves their father in her wedding plans, the story becomes overly sentimental. The story's sweetness isn't always to its detriment, though; Charlie's growing relationship with Caleb is uplifting and memorable.
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Waste of time
The story is a juvenile one with shallow one dimensional characters. Sappy sentimentality that doesn't ring true or make you feel anything.