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The Boys are Back in Town [Hardcover]

Simon Carr
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Sep 2000
"Before my wife - my late wife - Susie got ill, she used to say that a tidy house created a force field-- Susie's housekeeping was a way of surrounding her family. Her presence was everywhere - in the drifting scent of Givenchy from the bedroom, or rosemary from the kitchen, or that lemon-scented cleaning agent coming from the bathroom."
"So there we are, a father and two sons in a household without role models, males together in a home different from anything I'd known - an idyllic "Lost Boys"' world with a house full of children and as few rules as possible."

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; 1st edition (7 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091793815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091793814
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,574,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Carr has been the Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, and is, by common consent, the rudest of them all. An engaging and amusing talker and writer, Simon Carr was speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992-1994. His working principle is 'Indignation keeps us young.'

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Amazon Review

After Simon Carr's wife Susie finally succumbed to cancers dogged enough to defeat even her fiery spirit, he was left to bring up two sons in a domestic set-up he describes as "free-range" and visiting mothers preferred to call "semi-feral". This account of the rocky path of the lone carer is both moving and hilarious. The "Lost Boys" homestead constitutes a socially anomalous enterprise: a domestic world almost completely devoid of female influence. Carr's daringly innovative strategy could be summed up as "least resistance parenting"; where the golden rule is simply that there are as few rules as possible. But whilst his discoveries expose the often-risible rules that underlie some of our fundamental parenting habits, he also recounts his failures with unflinching honesty. Carr manages to trace the familiar territory of the gender divide without succumbing to the now familiar polarity of writers such as Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby. But despite the originality, emotional honesty and wit that set him apart from the platitude peddlers (although to be fair he does still sling the odd whopper into the pot), his achievement is to be as highly entertaining and readable as the best of them. --Rebecca Johnson


'Achingly funny and almost unbearably moving’ -- Daily Mail

‘Both men and women need his confident, politically incorrect but thoroughly realistic assertions.’ -- Independent

‘Carr's brilliantly written account of life as a single parent should become a required manual on parenting’ -- Sunday Times

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
You will want to give this book to every parent you know, but especially to every parent of boys, and especially especially to every single-parent of boys. They will thank you and love you for it because this is one of the funniest books you will read in any year. It was written only because Simon Carr's second, beautiful, feisty, much-loved wife died of cancer. Left with two boys to bring up on his own, Carr muddles through and learns an enormous amount about parenting, about house-keeping, about the fun and the filth boys can create. In an environment ranging from "free-range" to "semi-feral", the boys get by, get along, get down, get up late, and get used to a different set of rules and a life unregimented by a woman's hand. They travel a long way. The books 232 pages take us from London to Australia to London to New Zealand and back to Oxford with a fair bit of diversion along the way. A bit like in a more adult, funnier and darker version of The Incredible Journey, these human-like male creatures get into some heroic scrapes - including some memorably scary encounters with fearful fierce beasts called Real Estate Agents - but they help each other through and get there in the end.
The reason you'll want to bulk buy the book to hand out to all those single-parents is not just because it is a laugh-out-loud funny, sob-out-loud sad autobiography by one of The Independent's most readable journalists. Like Tony Parson's Man and Boy, this is a moving, funny, confessional book about fatherhood - a great read, a great present, but you'd wait till Christmas or birthday before you handed over your 8.00.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight 20 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Essentially a diary of a man bringing up two boys on his own. Brilliant insight into single parenting and the differences between male and female attitudes, attachment and parenting.
From a psychological view a very good look at the male (from child to adult) psyche.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The realities of living 22 Jan 2002
By s d
The subject of this book will appeal to those who have recently experienced parenthood and may also act as crystal ball for those who may be contemplating it. But this is certainly no baby manual. It is an intensly moving story of one man's experiences coupled with his views on one of the most introspective challenges that adults face, how to rear the next generation.
As a fairly recent father who has found his emotions creating chaos at the most unexpected times during the last two and a half years this book provided some pillars and provoked enough thought to help me make some sense of the situation. It provided the opportunity to step back from the day to day details and remind you of the joys of life as a parent, and a husband.
Simon Carr's description, in the early part of the book, of the loss of a wife/mother is so well written that the sense of loss left me with the feeling that I had just run off a cliff and was hanging, cartoon style, in mid air before plummeting to the canyon floor. The anguish is tangible.
But this is far from being a dark book. From a terrible situation it brings out the joys and realities of living and through a mixture of humour and well thought out observations left this reader feeling more privileged than ever to have his little family around him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for rebel parents 18 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure I would recommend driving a car with the kids on the bonnet but this is a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gave brilliant insights 13 Mar 2010
By Boo
This well written book gave some great insights into the differences in the way men and women parent. Very interesting and heart warming.
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