This Was Not the Plan

Cristina Alger. S&S/Touchstone, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0375-9
Alger’s (The Darlings) new novel of love, loss, and parenthood is readable and relatable. Charlie Goldwyn, the widowed father of Caleb, his idiosyncratic five-year-old, works hellish hours in hopes of making partner at his powerful Manhattan law firm. Instead, he is fired after a drunken rant turns him into an unwitting YouTube sensation. When his twin sister, Zadie—who took over Caleb’s care after Charlie’s wife died in a plane crash—takes a vacation, he becomes his son’s primary caregiver. Still grief-stricken and hyper-focused on winning back his job, he is overwhelmed by fatherhood. His struggles to become the father that his free-spirited wife wanted him to be are by turns funny and moving, as are his musings about his job. That said, there are some issues: Charlie’s mother’s part in Charlie’s estrangement from his father strikes a sour, unresolved note. And after Zadie involves their father in her wedding plans, the story becomes overly sentimental. The story’s sweetness isn’t always to its detriment, though; Charlie’s growing relationship with Caleb is uplifting and memorable. Agent: Pilar Queen, McCormick Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/16/2015
Release date: 02/02/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-5011-0377-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-9164-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-5011-0376-6
Hardcover - 486 pages - 978-1-4104-9057-5
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