Monday, November 28, 2016

This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Touchstone
From the acclaimed author of The Darlings comes an incisive, hilarious, and tender exploration of fatherhood, love, and family life through the story of a widower who has to become the father he didn't know he could be.

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 story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means. 

My Thoughts…

A father who is too busy to enjoy his wife and son does not usually know what he has until he loses them.    With This Was Not The Plan only half of that statement is true.     He loses his wife in a devastating plane crash but lets his sister move in to raise his son, Caleb.      All of that changes when he loses his job.    He spends the summer with Caleb and realizes that the life he thought he wanted is not necessary the life he really wants.   

When Charlie, that father, is fired I could only hope that his eyes would open and he would realize all he was missing by working 72 hours straight, spending no time at home with his son.    I was not disappointed.    Charlie’s eyes were opened and the relationship between Caleb and Charlie was amazing to watch develop.   The love between them was undeniable and it only grew as the story went on. 

Caleb is an amazing little boy.    He is unique in his obsessions with disasters like earthquakes and his liking to wear pink and purple girl colored clothes.   These are things that a dad who is a big man in the world struggles with, much less a dad without a wife to help him and support him.     Yet, as a reader I could not help but love Caleb and love how Charlie came around to understand his son helping him find his ways.      I loved the scene at Zadie’s, Caleb’s aunt, wedding.    This is where the strength of their love and their bond truly shined through.  

Cristina Alger managed to pull together an estranged family, make a father a dad, and show acceptance in each other.      This Was Not The Plan is a book that I recommend picking up. 

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