This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger (5 out of 5)

 

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I got this advance from Wendy at S&S (Wendy, you remain my queen).. This book isn’t out until February 2, 2016. But set your speedometers for that date so you can head out and pick it up. I think it’s likely my first feel good book of 2016. I can’t wait to recommend it to others. I think it’s the perfect antidote to the shitty weather that awaits most of us in February. Put it on your To-Be-Read lists now, and read it!

Charlie Goldwyn is my favorite character since Tom Violet. If you don’t know who Tom Violet is, how do you know me? (See-or read- Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets from a few years back). Anyway, he’s a wonderful, grieving widower working 12 hour days at a law firm, trying to make partner. These hours began before his wife’s death, and they have only gotten worse since she passed. As one would expect, his home life- namely, his relationship with his young son Caleb- has suffered to the point that Caleb is basically being raised by his sister Zadie. Charlie is on the fast track when he has a few too many at a big company party, and he makes a speech undermining the job and those who work in the industry. Not surprisingly, he loses his job. Charlie is convinced that Todd, this semi-creepy hanger on at the firm, is behind the Youtube video that gets posted and goes viral as a result, which resulted in his dismissal. Charlie has a friend, Fred, in the firm who tells him that he’ll do his best to find him a new opportunity elsewhere. Remember that, kids, for the end of the book. In the meantime, he takes a well-needed break, bonds with his kid, spends time with his sister, meets his long estranged father (not by choice), helps his sister plan her wedding, becomes friends with stay-at-home dads, develops a crush on a soon-to-be-divorced mom Elise, and plots his sweet revenge. But all is not as it seems in Denmark, as Charlie soon gets to the bottom of what- and whom- was at the heart of the speech being put on Youtube and the dismissal from the company. Will it all end up well? Will father and son keep the bonds that they’ve developed since Charlie lost his job, or will it get shot out of a cannon the second Charlie gets back into the  saddle?  Will Charlie reunite with his father, before it’s too late for both of them? Will Caleb ever begin dressing in normal clothes, and not the pink and purple tutus he loves? Many questions, many answers, and this one is so effortless that before you know it, you’re finished. And then you’re very sad. Because it’s ended.

The best way I can describe this is a worthy runner-up to Nick Hornby’s About A Boy. It’s fun, effortless, and heartwarming. Charlie is one of those characters you feel instantly connected to, and you’re cheering for him and Caleb the whole way. When things are revealed about Charlie’s ouster from the firm, it makes sense and more importantly, it’s not so far-fetched that you’re scratching your head and going “WTF”. Family relationships are never smooth, and this one is a great example- especially between Charlie and his estranged dad. So seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved this. Go out on February 2, 2015 (Groundhog Day), and pick this up. I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I did.

 

 

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~ by generationgbooks on November 24, 2015.

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