Friday, October 21, 2016

This Was Not the Plan

This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger
Touchstone: 10/18/16
eBook review copy; 368 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 9781501103766

This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger is a recommended novel about discovering what is important in life.

Charlie Goldwyn works long hours trying to make partner at the Manhattan corporate law firm where he works. Charlie is a widow whose 5 year-old son, Caleb, has been watched/raised by his twin sister, Zadie, since the death of his wife, Mira, two years ago. After spending a long 72 hours at work to complete a big case, Charlie just wants to go home, but he has to attend a party for the new associates at the firm. He ends up drinking too much and making a speech that is brutally honest about life at the firm. His drunken speech was being filmed and is put on YouTube, where it goes viral, resulting in Charlie being fired from the firm.

Now that Charlie's free to watch Caleb, Zadie asks to take a little vacation, leaving Charlie totally in charge of his son. What Charlie wants is his job back. Even when Mira was alive, she was the caregiver, not Charlie. Now it's all up to him to become the father his wife wanted him to be, but the one he hasn't been. The forced time off from work will also give him a chance to grieve the loss of his wife. But there are a lot more surprises in store for Charlie as he learns to become the father Caleb deserves.

Even though Charlie loses his job, you know that nothing really bad is going to happen here. Anything really bad has already happened, off the page, and is only discussed now. Charlie is really the only well-developed character while the rest of the characters are more caricatures of a type of person. The narrative alternates between present day actions and Charlie's memories of Mira. The story heads in a predictable, familiar direction, which isn't always bad.

In the final analysis, this is a pleasant, feel-good book. The writing is good. There is some substance to the story even though it's meant to be and written as light escapism. Many reviewers liked this one much more than I did. To be honest, I didn't really like the free spirited character of Mira, which sort of put a damper on my enjoyment.


Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I really like the premise of this book - but it sounds like the character development fell a little short. Thanks for the honest review!