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Man and Boy Hardcover – April 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The theme of this alternately wry and maudlin debut from London writer Parsons "love means knowing when to let go" won't make Love Story's mantra obsolete, but this novel shimmers with a sentimentality that could appeal widely to those who enjoyed Segal's romance classic and to their progeny. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Harry Silver blows everything by indulging in a one-night stand with a young assistant on the English TV talk show he produces. When Harry's wife, Gina, discovers his adultery, she jets off immediately to pursue job opportunities in Japan, leaving Harry in temporary custody of their adorable four-year-old son, Pat. Parsons captures the free-floating angst of a man who senses his horizons constricting and the panic of a suddenly single father confronting the issues of child care. Harry's misery is compounded by the subsequent loss of his job; his conviction that he's failed his own loving father, a WWII war hero; and the reluctance of the new woman in his life, an American waitress, to commit emotionally to him. Parsons knows how to pace his pages turn as if in a high wind and he has a flair for pushing emotional buttons, perhaps particularly those of men on the far side of 30 or singledom. Many readers will love this novel; others will decry its obvious calculation, but most will agree that Parson deals in a highly entertaining manner with personal issues of import and that, more often than not, he tells it very true. (Apr.) Forecast: This novel has ridden English bestseller lists for about half a year, with 500,000 copies sold in the U.K. alone. Will it duplicate that success here? It might. Parsons is a media celebrity in England, and British audiences familiar with or curious about his personal life (he received custody of his son after a divorce, and his father was a war hero) boosted sales there. But Sourcebooks is going all out with this title which launches its fiction imprint, Sourcebooks Landmark with a 50,000 first printing and three national tours in 20 cities, as well as 10,000 companion discussion guides. The book is also a Literary Guild Featured Alternate. Most importantly, it's the kind of novel that can soar on good word of mouth which it's going to get, and a lot of it.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This first novel from British journalist and TV personality Parsons is also the first fiction published by Sourcebooks's new Landmark imprint. For Parsons's alter ego, Harry Silver late-night TV talk show producer, married man and father of one, just about to turn 30, life suddenly takes a wrong turn when he yearns for (and buys) a red sports car and has a one-night stand with another woman. Harry's adolescent fantasy is costly, however: he loses his job, and his wife walks out to pursue the dream she gave up when she married and sets off for Japan, leaving him in charge of his four-year-old son. Harry finds life as a housefather a trial, but he has the support of loving parents, especially his competent father, a World War II hero he can never hope to emulate. Harry's prolonged adolescence is at times painful for both him and the reader, and his grappling with growing up seems more baby boomer than Gen X, though the book is set in the 1990s. Nevertheless, this portrayal of becoming a "real" parent, coming to terms with fatherhood and loss, and dealing with the complicated relations of the new families created after divorce is often touching. For larger collections. Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; First Edition edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570717257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570717253
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,573,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tony Parsons' Man and Boy is one of the most moving, captivating, thought-provoking, and funny books I've ever read. I am an editor and have worked on well over 100 books, and this is the kind of book I would have loved to be a part of. Parsons characters come alive, and I can see myself, for better or worse, in Harry Silver. I have a son about Pat's age, and I could easily see myself in Harry's position--caring for a little boy he's totally in love with and facing the prospect of losing him. Throughout my read, I kept thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I."
The relationship between Harry and his son, Pat, is splendid and believable. I empathized totally with Harry as he learned to be a father to his son, and I laughed and cried as events in their lives together unfolded. Harry's relationship with his father, a WWII vet who reminds Harry of his own weaknesses, is perhaps even more stirring. Parsons explores the joys of parenting and family life and contrasts them with the notions of romance and the heady and carefree days of dating and early marriage. Parsons also hits the nail on the head concerning divorce and what it does to children. The resolution of the custody fight had me both cheering and feeling a sense of loss.
I suggest this book for any man who has a child, who has been married for a while, or who feels he's getting old and wants to "spice up" his life again. Parsons will help you rekindle love for your life and family. You won't take a minute of family life for granted after reading this incredible book.
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By A Customer on May 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book, while often predictable and formulaic, is also sweet, funny, insightful and wise. It tells the story of a young man becoming an actual man. In the beginning, Harry is a nice guy, but bored and feeling entitled and dissatisfied. While he has a beautiful wife, adored son and good job, he somehow doesn't think that is enough on the eve of his 30th birthday. When he loses just about everything, he begins to see that life isn't about what you have, but instead about what you value and how to protect it, even when you don't feel like it, and he begins to grow into a true man. I loved the characters of Harry and his father, but the women characters were often poorly drawn. However, this is the story of Harry's awakening, and his lack of insight into the women in his life is not surprising. This book will make you laugh and cry. It is a first novel, and I look foreward to Mr. Parson's future efforts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked this up while I was on vacation overseas, and absolutely loved it. I'm thrilled it's finally made its way over here. It's funny, touching, honest, and totally, totally enjoyable. This simple of a story of a man, his separation, and his struggle to raise his son and find himself was both humorous and moving, yet all without being too corny. If I had to make one complaint it would be that the book becomes too much like a screenplay, but that didn't stop me from fully enjoying it. It's almost like a more grown up HIGH FIDELITY or BRIDGET JONES. I passed it onto several friends and we all felt the same. Definitely one of my all time favorites.
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Format: Hardcover
It is funny because I have bought this book exactly in the same situation as one of the reviewers here: I was waiting for a flight at Heathrow airport and had also never heard of Tony Parsons before. I have just read the book and found it amazingly touching, full of wisdom and zest for life. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think...
Gorgeous.
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Format: Hardcover
Rummaging for a bargain in the new year sales I picked up this book, with the simple, non-pretentious yet curious cover, read the first page, and fell in love.
It is the story of Harry Silver and his developing relationship with his adoring four year old son. It is the story of growing up, of being young, of growing old, of dying, of starting over. It is a story which teaches us how beautiful and precious and yet ruthlessly frail life can be. Ultimately, it is a story about love, and what this really means when it is lived out in the real world, with real people who are flawed.
Parsons does not write with an all ominiscient hand. His central character Harry is far from perfect. He lacks insight into his wife and because of this, even after his marriage and his whole life as he knows it falls crashing to the ground, he is still unable to grasp why his fatal act was so necessarily fatal. Truly heartbroken over his loss, he never manages to acknowledge fully his own part in bringing about this loss, and yet his act nearing the end, although unable to restore that which was irredeemably broken, does bring about some sense of absolution and hope for the future.
Its one failing, the plot, moves unnecessarily fast. It all takes place in the space of 6 months and so events which are all too common and perhaps even inevitable and predictable (healing, falling in love again, etc.,) come across as somewhat contrived and forced.
Nonetheless, neglecting the pace of events, the characters in this novel are depicted superbly and resoundingly true to life, and as the poignant story unfolds, developed with impressive skill and compassion.
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