An extremely easy read, with a title that shouts out to blokes of a certain age and situation, I think. In the week I'm reading it, for example, Cheryl Cole would only qualify for one out of the three, and would no doubt pass it by. Which would probably be for the best, as this is very much a bloke's mid-life crisis book, as the author himself often cheerfully points out (no doubt telling himself that because he KNOWS and states that it is a mid-life crisis he's going through means that it can't be, really).
Five months into my reading year and this is the easiest book I've managed to get through so far. Very light in style, and as mildly amusing as it is mildly irritating, the author ruminates on the insane life that many middle aged men are committed to these days often through no fault of their own. Stuck with the self and society imposed "bread winner" role in the family, the "good father" role takes a back seat and the fabled "work life balance" goes out the window. Marsh only manages to get some work-life balance by giving up work and taking what it effect is a year out of the rat race to reassess his life. In doing so he manages to verbalise a lot of the nagging doubts about the life we find ourselves leading without coming up with many, or any, real solutions to the challenge of what it's all about. The fact is that there are plenty of solutions to choose from and none of them are ideal. Like he points out in the book, you can fly British Airways Economy from Sydney to London (because you're not working, broke but are having quality family time) or have a company pay you to fly Business Class (because you are working and a slave to the company clock and agenda.) Which is better? Take what you like and pay for it, as God is supposed to have said.
In the end, the book is a bit unsatisfying because it ducks the issue it is supposed to address. It raises some interesting questions that are worthy of more debate about men's role in life in this day and age, signposts them, and then moves on without really exploring the roads. Taking a year off wasn't that much of a challenge - taking ten, or even twenty, now that might have forced some real hard choices in his life. As it turns out, this was more of an extended, somewhat introspective, holiday at home.