This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger

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Fall is the ultimate reading weather. A cozy blanket, a cup of coffee, and a book that transports me hundreds of miles away are what I look forward to most when I can steal the time. My nightstand is stacked with some buzzed about reads like this one and this one and as soon as I make my way through them, I'll report back.

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I'm currently nose-deep in fellow New Yorker Cristina Alger's latest, This Was Not the Plan, a contemporary fiction novel about love, loss, parenthood, and friendship. The work-life balance theme is close to my heart as it's something both my husband and I struggle with regularly. Life rarely if ever goes as planned and it's what we make of the off-road adventures that truly define us. That's what the novel's protagonist, Charlie, discovers. From the publisher:

Charlie Goldwyn's life hasn't exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with his quirky five-year-old son, Caleb, whose obsession with natural disasters and a penchant for girls' clothing have made him something of a loner at his preschool. The only thing Charles has going for him is his job at a prestigious law firm, where he is finally close to becoming a partner.

But when a slight lapse in judgment at an office party leaves him humiliatingly unemployed, stuck at home with Caleb for the summer, and forced to face his own estranged father, Charlie starts to realize there's more to fatherhood than financially providing for is son and more to being a son than overtaking his father's successes.

At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, This Was Not the Plan is a"sparkling and heartfelt" (Bookpage) story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means.

I read A Man Called Ove this summer and am somewhat surprised how much I am enjoying these male narratives as I typically favor women's stories. I was also concerned about the intensity level of This Was Not the Plan based on the description and the circumstances through which we come to know Charlie and Caleb but it's quite upbeat and balanced with humor. A worthy fall read for sure.

What's on your current reading list?

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