FICTION

This Was Not the Plan

Touchstone. Feb. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9781501103759. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501103773. F
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Charlie has just wrapped up 72 hours working on a huge class-action lawsuit that has been pending for four years. Finally, it's time to see his five-year-old son, Caleb, and get some sleep. Going home isn't as much fun as it used to be; his wife died in a plane crash, and it was because of Charlie that she was even on the flight. Preparing to leave the office, Charlie encounters a senior partner who reminds him of the firm's cocktail party; attendance is essentially mandatory. Charlie finds his friend and fellow lawyer Moose and promptly throws back a few shots of vodka. The ensuing lapse in judgment leaves him a full-time dad and unemployed attorney. This was not the life plan Charlie had in mind: no income, parenting a quirky young son, and facing his own estranged father.
VERDICT Alger's (The Darlings) darkly comic novel offers an engaging take on single parenthood from a man's viewpoint. Modern life has changed who takes the kids to summer camp and who arranges the playdates. Fans of Emma Straub's The Vacationers or works by Erin Duffy should enjoy this tale.

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