BOOK REVIEW : Man and Boy : By Tony Parsons

‘Man and Boy’ is really about three men, two fathers and two sons. The narrator, Harry Silver, stands in the middle of the line - he is boy (son) to his father and man (father) to his boy. Harry has successful job in TV, a gorgeous wife, a lovely child.
L-R:Fils Clement Ndahiro; Justin Ndoli
L-R:Fils Clement Ndahiro; Justin Ndoli

‘Man and Boy’ is really about three men, two fathers and two sons. The narrator, Harry Silver, stands in the middle of the line - he is boy (son) to his father and man (father) to his boy. Harry has successful job in TV, a gorgeous wife, a lovely child. And in one moment of madness, he chucks it all away.

Man and Boy is the story of how he comes to terms with his life and achieves a degree of self-respect, bringing up his son alone and, gradually, learning what words like love and family really mean.

From a beautiful wife, an adorable four-year-old son, and a high-paying media job, yet on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, with one irresponsible act, he suddenly finds himself an unemployed single father trying to figure out how to wash his son’s hair the way Mommy did and whether green spaghetti is proper breakfast food.

Harry tries to learn to become a father to his son and a son to his aging father, takes stabs at finding new love, and makes the hardest decision of his life.

Harry is happily married to Gina, and they have a small boy, Pat.  Harry has just turned 30.  He loves his son more than anything, and he is still in love with his wife.

Nevertheless, in a few days of madness, he buys himself a sports car and has a one night stand with someone from his work.  Gina finds out within hours and leaves him, taking Pat.

But Harry manages to get Pat back when Gina goes off to Japan, and he is faced with the challenge of being a single parent.  Soon he loses his job. Faced with an impending crisis, he gets help from his parents who live fairly close by.

Some of the problems Harry encounters are all too predictable; almost as soon as we see him interact with his elderly father, it is clear that a crucial moment later in the novel will be when Harry faces the end of his father’s life and finally transforms from boy to man. 

Christian Perring of Metapsychology Online thinks Tony Parson’s book is a very standard English novel about the trials and tribulations of family life and the search for romance, much is the tradition of a good many other young British writers of the last decade.

The genre mixes sincerity and pathos with a light humor, making for a Parsons’ writing is clumsy in comparison, but it has a brisk pace and readers will keep turning the pages wanting to find out how it all turns out.

Tony Parsons proves to be an entertainer Par Excellence.  His writing is full of dialogue and readable English language without the complications of literary mechanics.

His characters provide valuable lessons in life about how small mistakes can have a big impact on our lives. His chapters are also brief such that it is easy to maintain concentration on the story line.

Above all, the book is simple, real and imaginable and provides fun reading.

Ends

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