man and boy
So, as you may have seen, I finally read through the third Harry Silver book by Tony Parson. The first was good, but provoked emotions in me whilst the second felt far weaker. This one I didn’t expect to be as good as the first but I hoped for some improvement.
Harry Silver is now happy, he has his three kids, wife and a good job and all seems to be going well. Of course, in typical fashion this cannot last and things start to derail. His ex wife reappears, he loses his job and a distance starts to open up between himself and his wife as he spends more and more time with a friend of his deceased fathers.
This all felt like the standard plot of the other books, things are going well, something goes wrong and he does something stupid. Then he gets petty and selfish and things get worse before something wakes him up and the book ends happily.
This one was no different really, with the same predictable elements occurring in order, however this added the irritation of following an argument, key event or major thing with a ‘some weeks later’ section, skipping out all that came before.
The best thing about these books is that they provoke a response in me, this is normally frustration, anger or apathy but it gets me thinking either way. This book didn’t have much of that: there were a few moments that I noted to write about but in skimming back over them it wasn’t enough to be worth the effort of expanding upon.
This was the only one and actually makes a lot do sense. As a ‘stepdad’ of a girl who barely sees her real dad I can certainly empathise with the suggestion blood has little to do with it. Of course that should be the case, it’s not the ability to create a child but the ability to be there and support one as he/she grows and develops. Unfortunately the main character spends the rest of the book contradicting this thought as he jealously guards his son from everyone and gets more jealous about his stepdaughters occasional time with her biological father. He also completely ignores the moment his wife suggests the same thing about his son, making him seem all the more selfish.
So overall the book was a letdown. The old men weren’t needed and the plot mostly stayed the same as previous books, with some of the same storylines repeated. It felt as though it were an unnecessary addition printed solely for the money and with no real story to tell- and certainly nothing to add to what’s gone before
So about a year ago I read Man and Boy by Tony Parsons and wrote a fair bit about it (due to the mix of emotions it stirred in me)
Man and boy part one
Man and boy part two
Man and boy part three
Man and boy part four
Man and boy part five
Man and boy part six
Man and boy part seven
Man and boy part eight
Man and boy part nine
The book was really quite good, not only in its telling- but also in its perspective (male) of a failing marriage and a small boy stuck in the middle. It also provoked a lot of outrage and frustration in me as I just couldn’t empathise very far with the main characters (Harry Silver) actions and choices.
Having enjoyed it I soon moved on to the sequel Man and Wife with high hopes.
Man and wife part one
Man and wife part two
Man and wife part three
As you can see I didn’t cover it in as much depth (though I also condensed the posts a little more). The reason being I just didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much. Harry Silvers irrational stupid decision making began to grate a bit and the empathy just wasn’t there. It also felt a little as though the plot ‘man has good life, ruins it’ was a little too closely repeated against the previous one. There were still enjoyable moments, and it provoked more emotion and outrage in me it just didn’t maintain the quality of the Man and Boy.
By the end I was fed up and had no intention of reading Men from the Boys anytime soon. A year on I finally picked it up and went through it.
‘By far the best book Parsons has written’ said the Guardian, which I hoped was true- despite the knowledge they wouldn’t put ‘this isn’t very good’ on the cover. The subtitle for the book was ‘some shoes are hard to fill’ which felt worryingly like a premonition.
In my next post I’ll get onto the book itself.
So, another reading of man and wife by tony parsons. I’d not read it for a while but got going again tonight and it annoyed me.
The main character spent most of the previous book and now this one with completely the wrong perspective on life, and that’s grated all the way, but the most recent chapter actually had me disliking his new wife Cyd.
Now, Iv had a bit of a soft spot for her, I don’t know what it is but she’s been a really attractive character and a decent person, but recently she’s been a real bitch. The main characters son is visiting and she’s being difficult about them spending time together. Now, it’s weird that whenever the son is involved that the mum and daughter aren’t involved in their days out, given the dad wants a ‘family unit’ it’s weird to compartmentalise it all, but regardless Cyd is being unreasonable.
I fucking hate you
This has come up several times, the daughter of Cyd has said it several times to the main guy, with no visible response from anyone. Aside from the fact he should tell her it’s wrong, her mother should put a stop to it as well.
I had more to say, but the books losing me and just not having much interest in what’s happening
So, I’m speeding up my posts on this book because post 137 is approaching and my partners going to need something to read.
The first aspect of the book that grabbed me was the custody battle results. At the end of man and boy the main character had agreed he could stay with his mum, who then attended his wedding. The implication was that shared custody would be an easy thing, but apparently not, he gets a few hours every Sunday.
This leads onto a commentary of a load of dads with kids they barely know sat in McDonalds small talking through those Sunday moments. I haven’t got limited access to my kids- fortunately- but it did get me wondering about my trip to the cinema with my daughter; were other people looking at me as the part time dad getting an extra day because it’s half term, or were they seeing me as the dad I like to think I am- that I enjoy spending time with my children. My worry is it was the former, which really is ok because I really don’t care what people think of me, but it’s still a worry that any potential interactions with people are going to be affected by how they perceive me.
I don’t want them wondering if Iv cheated, or beat up the mother of my daughter, or if I’m just taking them out because I’m legally obliged to once a week.
Which brings me onto another annoyance in a bad dad. Money. The CSA is there to ensure the parents provide financial support for their children but the system is so ridiculous. I won’t go into details because it isn’t my information to share, but the
real other dad of my daughter was making payments of an amount of money that was frankly less than we needed but enough to at least contribute to her clothes, food, toys etc but when he lost/quit his job (we don’t know) the amount dropped to just barely enough to buy a pint of beer a week. It’s nice of course that it’s something, but it’s such a pointlessly pathetic amount it’s stupid. Of course, he has less money whilst unemployed, but the sheer drop is dangerous. We’re lucky enough that nice as the money was we can now cope without it, but I’m sure there are a lot of single parents reliant on that bit of cash coming in, for it to drop without notice (and there was none- we found out once the low payment came in and we chased it up). Additionally, if he doesn’t pay we don’t get our money until he does, if he does.
On top, in an effort to increase the number of parents privately arranging payment the CSA is now charging an admin feel which is another reduction in the money coming in.
As I said, we’re lucky enough we don’t desperately need it- though it would help- but all those parents out there waiting on the money to buy the next meal could end up dangerously low on income, which can never be a good thing for the child
So, I wasn’t keen on reading the sequel to tony parsons man and boy just yet, but in requesting my partner to read it (to gain her thoughts) I convinced myself to give it a go.
Seven chapters in and my partners read the first and wants the second, so I’m going to be handing it over for a day or so whilst she flies through it. I have no idea how she gets through a book so quickly, probably because she sits and reads whilst I snatch moments on the toilet to do so, but anyway, giving it to her for the short time has changed my approach to covering this one in the blog.
So I’ll be reviewing it in stages- rather than going back to the sections that make me think, I’ll be covering it as it makes me think. This will likely change my thoughts as I won’t be using the overall story, just the moments so it may illicit more frustration than before, especially if the first books anything to go by.
The story picks up essentially where the other left off, or it doesn’t, as it’s been jumping a lot, but some of them start directly after the end, some as a two/three years on story. So far it feels a lot like the setup of both books is the same- ie he’s happy, but he wants to be happier. I’m waiting on him jumping into bed with an Irish girl to rehash the plot. But I’m hoping that’s not the case.
So, this is my final man and boy (by tony parsons) reflection- at least until my partner decides she wants to talk about it. This ones less about the book and more about the ending it went for
There was something of a ‘positive Hollywood ending’ to it, everything slotted nicely into place, despite the depth and potential desperation of the story up until this point it all felt far too convenient and unlikely.
It’s tough of course to end a book satisfactorily without it being convenient and crap, and really the ending was nice, but it wasn’t the ending the book needed.
As it was his life had completely changed, and after all the changes and his growth as a
person father he’s given everything up and lost his girl, only for him to race after her and miss her. But then- shock horror- she appears, having changed her mind about leaving.
So how did the book make me feel? I enjoyed it as a story, but as a parent (not a single one thankfully- though it could be argued I have three children sometimes) I felt a variety of things, from disbelief to anger to empathy. I think it’s a credit to tony parsons that he’s been able to write something that can ring true to a dad, even when the situation is completely different. In an interview in the back of the book he said it’s mostly women that bought it, so I’ll be interested in hearing my partners thoughts. She read the book in two days but so far hasn’t mentioned it beyond “aw wasn’t that nice” so we’ll see how it goes.
The problem with finishing a book satisfactorily and not being too convenient and crap
So, I wrote my part 8 of man and boy by tony parsons and then wordpress somehow deleted all the text after I scheduled it.
I won’t be writing it again because couldn’t rethink what I was getting at, but it was about custody battles, parents using the phrase “best for the child” as a weapon, and then after all the stress and fuss the dad gives up and let’s the kid stay with a mum who abandoned him for four months without warning.
I hope I never have to go through a custody battle, i really do.