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Man And Boy by Tony Parsons - Book Review


Man And Boy
Tony Parsons

Fiction-Net Rating 5 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Harry Silver has it all - a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, a great job in the media but in one night he throws it all away. Then Harry must start to learn what life and love are really all about.

We Say

A simple premise for the most moving book I have read in a long time. As Tony Parsons is best known as a tabloid journalist, I didn't expect such sensitivity in this story but he writes unashamedly, with his heart on his sleeve.

When central character Harry Silver's wife leaves him, he is left alone with their young son, Pat. The presentation of single parenthood, where there is no rulebook and no instructions, is shown to be a difficult and at times, frustrating job.

Complicating things further is the prejudice that Harry faces as that rare breed, a single father. His life is turned upside-down and only once he is able to get beyond his own heartbreak and see what is really important does he find the rewards. Alongside this runs the story of Harry's relationship with his own father, based around a far more traditional family set-up in which happiness is the state of normality and this is taken for granted.

I don't know to what extent Man And Boy is based on Tony Parsons' own experiences as a father and ex-husband of journalist and writer, Julie Burchill, and to be honest it's irrelevant, the fact is it works. Parsons examines the modern culture of relationships in which courts decide who the better parent is and a child cannot assume they will have the kind of family life that past generations had. It's heartbreaking to see the journey that Harry has to take to understand his responsibility for this, in spite of his love for his son and his ultimate power to make amends.

It's great to read a book that is thoroughly modern without being cold, cool and cynical. Parsons really gets inside his characters' emotions and expresses them in all their pain and confusion. If you're not crying at some point in this book or, if female, not slightly in love with Harry, then you must have a heart of pure, white marble.

Review by: Rachel Taylor

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