Friday, October 28, 2016

Julie's Review: This Was Not the Plan

Author: Cristina Alger
Series: None
Publication Date: October 18, 2016 (paperback)
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A story about priorities and discovering you can do something else in life
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: 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.

Review: This Was Not the Plan is a story about how your plans can go awry in the blink of an eye and how life sometimes has other plans for you. Charlie had a job he loved, a wife he loved and a life he enjoyed living. Until the bottom fell out when is wife died but that was 2 years ago and Charlie still hasn't learned to cope. He was already working 80 hours and now with his wife gone and his sister raising his son, Caleb; he just works all the time, literally.

Well things are about to change for Charlie and Caleb and those around him when Charlie suddenly finds him with a lot of free time. He's not quite sure what to do with himself for the hours that Caleb is in school. He doesn't know how to relax. He needs his job to breathe.

Caleb is adorable in the way that a 5 years old can be but I almost felt that he was a little too cute. It's not that I didn't enjoy him or think that it was fantastic that he embraced who he was but 5 can be a very aggravating age and I didn't think that it was captured. I also thought it was a little too seamless for Charlie becoming a full time dad. His sister Zadie has been Caleb's caretaker since he works long hours and I just didn't think it was realistic that he moved from workaholic to easing into dad mode. I kind of figured there would be a few more flubs.

I enjoyed Charlie joining the SAD group because it was something completely out of his comfort zone but it also allowed Caleb to hang out and make some friends. I did like the addition of Elise to the mix of friend but I appreciated that Ms. Alger didn't make into something too quickly.

I think we all need to step back at times and assess where we are at in life. Maybe it's not life changing or career changing like Charlie but little changes can make a huge difference, even if it's just your outlook on life.

Overall, I enjoyed reading about Charlie and Caleb and I look forward to reading what else Ms. Alger writes.



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