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Man and Boy: A Novel

Man and Boy: A Novel

4.8 25
by Tony Parsons

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"Set your other books aside for a day or two and read straight through Man and Boy." —USA Today

An "utterly irresistible" (People) novel about a man who has it all: a beautiful wife, a wonderful son and a great job--until he chucks it all away. By turns funny, sharp and heart-wrenching, Man and Boy is the story of


"Set your other books aside for a day or two and read straight through Man and Boy." —USA Today

An "utterly irresistible" (People) novel about a man who has it all: a beautiful wife, a wonderful son and a great job--until he chucks it all away. By turns funny, sharp and heart-wrenching, Man and Boy is the story of how he comes to terms with his life and, gradually, learns what words like love and family really mean. 

Some situations to avoid when preparing for your all-important, finally-I-am-fully-grown thirtieth birthday:

•Having a one-night stand with a colleague from work.
•The rash purchase of luxury items you can't afford.
•Being left by your wife.
•Losing your job.
•Suddenly becoming a single parent.

If you are coming up on thirty, whatever you do, don't do any of that. It will f*** up your whole day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The theme of this alternately wry and maudlin debut from London writer Parsons "love means knowing when to let go" won't make Love Story's mantra obsolete, but this novel shimmers with a sentimentality that could appeal widely to those who enjoyed Segal's romance classic and to their progeny. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Harry Silver blows everything by indulging in a one-night stand with a young assistant on the English TV talk show he produces. When Harry's wife, Gina, discovers his adultery, she jets off immediately to pursue job opportunities in Japan, leaving Harry in temporary custody of their adorable four-year-old son, Pat. Parsons captures the free-floating angst of a man who senses his horizons constricting and the panic of a suddenly single father confronting the issues of child care. Harry's misery is compounded by the subsequent loss of his job; his conviction that he's failed his own loving father, a WWII war hero; and the reluctance of the new woman in his life, an American waitress, to commit emotionally to him. Parsons knows how to pace his pages turn as if in a high wind and he has a flair for pushing emotional buttons, perhaps particularly those of men on the far side of 30 or singledom. Many readers will love this novel; others will decry its obvious calculation, but most will agree that Parson deals in a highly entertaining manner with personal issues of import and that, more often than not, he tells it very true. (Apr.) Forecast: This novel has ridden English bestseller lists for about half a year, with 500,000 copies sold in the U.K. alone. Will it duplicate that success here? It might. Parsons is a media celebrity in England, and British audiences familiar with or curious about his personal life (he received custody of his son after a divorce, and his father was a war hero) boosted sales there. But Sourcebooks is going all out with this title which launches its fiction imprint, Sourcebooks Landmark with a 50,000 first printing and three national tours in 20 cities, as well as 10,000 companion discussion guides. The book is also a Literary Guild Featured Alternate. Most importantly, it's the kind of novel that can soar on good word of mouth which it's going to get, and a lot of it. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
As Harry Silver approaches his 30th birthday, persistent feelings of dissatisfaction nag at him despite his blissful marriage to a beautiful woman, his adorable four-year old son, and his good living as a television producer. So why does Harry feel that a red sports car could assuage those niggling fears that life is passing him by, that missed opportunities outweigh the tranquility and stability of his present life, and that his youth is all but gone? The decision to buy the red sports car is Harry's first major mistake; the really big one is the one-night stand he has with a female associate producer, which costs him his marriage. Ranging from poignant and heartbreaking to witty and uproariously funny, Harry's adventures are a triumph of storytelling. Set in Britain, this is, however, a story with universal appeal and apropos of today's splintered relationships, with children as the innocent victims. It is delightfully narrated by Gerard Doyle, who moves easily from one gender to the other, and from child to adult seamlessly. Highly recommended for all public library audio collections. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
USA Today Set your other books aside for a day or two and read straight through Man and Boy.

Kyle Smith People Utterly irresistible.

Sherryl Connelly New York Daily News Every generation has hungered for a heartfelt novel in which a father discovers what it is to be a mother. Man and Boy [is] a witty, often sweet novel that adeptly sorts immature men from true fathers.

Robin Vidimos Denver Post Tony Parsons's first novel, Man and Boy, hits like a series of quick jabs to the heart....A novel that is one in a million.

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Read an Excerpt

the most beautiful boy in the world

It's a boy, it's a boy!

It's a little boy.

I look at this baby-as bald, wrinkled, and scrunched up as an old man-and something chemical happens inside me.

It-I mean he-looks like the most beautiful baby in the history of the world. Is it-he-really the most beautiful baby in the history of the world? Or is that just my biological programming kicking in? Does everyone feel this way? Even people with plain babies? Is our baby really so beautiful?

I honestly can't tell.

The baby is sleeping in the arms of the woman I love. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the pair of them, feeling like I belong in this room with this woman and this baby in a way that I have never belonged anywhere.

After all the excitement of the last twenty-four hours, I am suddenly overwhelmed, feeling something-gratitude, happiness, love-well up inside me and threaten to spill out.

I am afraid that I am going to disgrace myself-spoil everything, smudge the moment-with tears. But then the baby wakes up and starts squawking for food and we-me and the woman I love-laugh out loud, laugh with shock and wonder.

It's a small miracle. And although we can't escape the reality of everyday life-when do I have to get back to work?-the day is glazed with real magic. We don't really talk about the magic. But we can feel it all around.

Later my parents are there. When she is done with the hugs and kisses, my mother counts the baby's fingers and toes, checking for webbed feet. But he is fine, the baby is fine.

"He's a little smasher," my mom says. "A little smasher!"

My father looks at the baby and something inside him seems to melt.

There are many good things about my father, but he is not a soft man, he is not a sentimental man. He doesn't gurgle and coo over babies in the street. My father is a good man, but the things he has gone through in his life mean that he is also a hard man. But today some ice deep inside him begins to crack and I can tell he feels it too.

This is the most beautiful baby in the world.

I give my father a bottle I bought months ago. It is bourbon. My father only drinks beer and whiskey but he takes the bottle with a big grin on his face. The label on the bottle says Old Granddad. That's him. That's my father.

And I know today that I have become more like him. Today I am a father too. All the supposed landmarks of manhood-losing my virginity, getting my driving license, voting for the first time-were all just the outer suburbs of my youth. I went through all those things and came out the other side fundamentally unchanged, still a boy.

But now I have helped to bring another human being into the world.

Today I became what my father has been forever.

Today I became a man.

I am twenty-five years old.

Meet the Author

Tony Parsons is the author of two international bestsellers, Man and Boy and Man and Wife. A former music journalist and television personality, he lives in England with his wife and daughter, and he has a son from a previous marriage.

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Man and Boy 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It must be me,  I just do not see this as a 4 or 5 star book.  It was like a Lifetime movie and I did not enjoy it at all.  I would not recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently picked this book up just because I needed something to read. I bought it because it was the cheapest there, and boy am I glad. I couldn't put it down! I just finished reading it, and just ordered man and wife. I can't wait to read it...with how good this book was, I can only imagine how great the next one will be. I guarantee anyone who reads this book, will LOVE it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Men can be decent and good fathers, i agree. But as husbands, not a chance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a book club that I belong to with 8 other friends. A friend of mine introduced this book to me, and at first I was a bit hesitant. After reading the first two pages, I immediately became hooked! This story will make you laugh and cry. I definately recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice, easy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i picked up this book thinking I would just give it a try and see what it was about. surprisingly enough, this book was hilarious and at the same time, very touching. i laughed out loud and was in tears at various times while reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant and beautiful. Real and raw. Ugly and angry. And I loved every bit of it. Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wise, heart tugging story that offers a lesson on love not soon to be forgotten. Excellant and I urge you to share this families love story. You won't be let down. Enjoy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book makes you actually believe that men can be decent, honest fathers. It makes you look at things from a different perspective. Tony Parsons is a very talented writer and I was very impressed with this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A book I would recommend for single fathers everywhere is 'Man and Boy' by Tony Parsons. Parsons brings to life Harry Silver, a married man with a young son and a good paying job in the media. He throws it all away, after a one night affair with a co-worker. The intriguing part of 'Man and Boy,' was how Tony Parsons brought to light the issues a single father must face when raising a child alone. Single fathers could relate to this huge issue.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I accidentally bought this book thinking it was "About a Boy" (also a good read) And what a pleasant mistake! Sounds cliche but I really did laugh and cry outloud. What an incredible find!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished this book. I couldn't put it down. All the funny, tragicomic antics that Harry goes through learning what it means to be a single parent, and the heart wrenching scenes between Harry and his father made me reach for the Kleenex. I can't recommend this one enough!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible. I found myself laughing out loud and crying to the point that I had to stop to pick up on my reading later on. His next book will come out next year and I can't wait to read it. Be on the look out for 'Man and Wife'
Guest More than 1 year ago
i just picked this book up and just started reading this book and i just cant put it down i wanted to stay up all night and just read it i love it and i know you will too its just the best and i cant wait to read more from him when he makes more wow it was the best i loved it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up while grocery shopping, just because I wanted a summer read, I am so glad I did. This book is really good and strikes me as a reality book. So much of this book happens everyday in real life. This book is great for woman because it is from a guys point of view on things, And also the high school age readers would enjoy this book, and possibly learn from it Without being lectured. I won't tell the total story line, but the main character finds himself becoming a father and husband earlier than he could prepare himself for?!
Guest More than 1 year ago
a very well written and easy to read book. James Brown said he cried five times and laughed out loud four and i have to agree with him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellently written! I couldn't wait to finish the book. Parsons managed to write the way we think - the way thoughts run through our head. I was skeptical at first about reviews saying 'you'll laugh and you'll cry' but that's exactly what I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful combination of hard reality, humour and heartwarming human simplicity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book! Just because this guy came from the daily Mirror does not mean that he can't write a sophisticated book. It was tough to read those last 50 pages without a tear in the eye. Watch out for 'One for my baby' which is even better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! Gripping, poignant stuff! Right up there with the likes of Nick Hornby and Irvine Welsh, Tony Parsons has joined that group of British authors who are able to portray everyday life with the pathos, sentiment and universal appeal that will have everyone waiting desperately for his next book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I rarely read novels for pleasure, but this novel has gotten me interested in reading again. This book is so good you won't be able to put it down. I can't wait for Parsons second novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book, I think that I have ever read! It sounded great so I bought it, athough I'm not much of a reader, and then realized how long it is, and thought that I wouldn't be able to ever finish it, but I couldn't stop reading it and usually when I read I get irritable and cant continue on for more than 15 minutes because most books are so dull. This is a great book and it is definately worth the $21!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is great how this book talks about people. The characters seem really real. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very well written story everyone can relate to. You care about each character,laugh and cry in turn, and are sorry when the book ends. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Take away the mystery, suspense, thrills and formula and what do you have left? People. That's what this book is about - people. Don't get me wrong, I love those other genres, but I find it rare that I can pick up a book and feel a part of the characters lives during, and well after, the time it takes me to read it. This is real stuff: feelings, emotions, relationships of all kinds. I look forward to Mr. Parson's next story.