Sunday, April 10, 2016

This Was Not the Plan

Charlie Goldwyn--a widowed, white-collar litigation attorney--narrates the novel, This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger. Unable to cope since the death of his wife, 33 year-old Charlie buries himself in work. This leaves the rearing of his five-year-old son, Caleb, to his "laid-back hippie of a sister," Zadie, who is a steadying force for Charlie and quirky Caleb, who likes to dress in girls' clothing. 

"There are things in life that are more important than work," one of the bosses tells Charlie, who is up for partner at the high-powered Manhattan law firm. When overworked and overtired Charlie is roped into attending an office cocktail party, he drinks too much and goes off on a loose-tongued tirade about his job and the back-breaking sacrifices he's made for the firm, only to have the incident captured on video by a competitive coworker. The video goes viral, and Charlie is fired—suddenly forced to navigate the world as a stay-at-home-dad and reconnect with his son, while fighting to get his job back. But is returning to the firm what's best for Charlie—and for Caleb?

As Charlie plots his next move, he struggles with grief and the new realities of his life, including his own parental and social inadequacies and the strained relationship he's endured with his own father. Alger (The Darlings) piles problems on her empathetic protagonist in a lively, entertaining way, while presenting a cast of appealing characters faced with the stresses and challenges of contemporary parenting. 

This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger
Touchstone, $26.00 Hardcover, 9781501103759, 240 pp
Publication Date: February 2, 2015
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (2/17/16), link HERE