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3.2 out of 5 stars56
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 September 2002
What a disappointment. Anyone expecting the sequel to Man and Boy to be anywhere as entertaining and readable will be sorely let down.
‘Man and Wife’ continues the story of Harry and his adorable son, his new wife, ex wife and potential new lovers. Unfortunately, where Man and Boy was genuinely moving, funny and believable, Tony Parsons has turned this into a collection of clichés, unlikely plot twists and sugary emotion ready to turn you diabetic.
There is much in the book that made me laugh aloud – but for all the wrong reasons. I just do not believe people talk like they talk in this book and I just couldn’t believe the coincidences that help the help the formulaic story along.
You can’t help thinking Tony wants to throw a bit of everything into the story. Harry was unfaithful in the first book…that worked well so lets do it again in this one. Dad died of lung cancer…… lets give mum breast cancer and so on. It just doesn’t work second time round.
The signs were there with ‘And One for My Baby’. That wasn’t anywhere near as good as ‘Man and Boy’. This is not much good either. Come on Tony, we expect better of you!
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on 18 August 2007
Yes, Parsons knows how to string simple (creative writing course) sentences together - ad nausiam. I truly hate this novel, which is entirely steeped in self pity and self worship- it is all about the writer signalling to the reader what and where he comes from and why he shouldn't be held accountable for his own mistakes.

Behind this disco ball of fancy words and half-digested, second-hand research there is only emptiness - no emotion, no truth, or honesty, no genuine idea and no character development. The writing, to put it mildly, is weak. The author's style is hardly any style at all, unless you can call watered-down and clichéd a "style." Even the very few moments of the story that threaten to become interesting are dealt with so clumsily and pretentiously that they devolve into the same witless and lackluster mess that surrounds them.

It is a second-rate writer (tabloid hack), Parsons, asking himself: "What kind of challenge will I set myself for this next venture of a novel to impress my readers after the success of Man and Boy?"
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on 8 January 2008
I can't believe I got through this book. It was like a Craig Brown parody of a Tony Parsons book. "Becase that was her. My wife. The woman I loved. Wife. My wife. who loved me." etc. The whole thing is like being cornered by some godawful self-obsessed drunk at a party, mumbling about how he's just an old romantic and if only women understood that he just wants to be loved- meanwhile the women who tried are left abandoned because they're not thrilling enough for Our Hero. To read this, you'd think the author knows nothing about children (did a child in the universe ever speak like the appalling Peggy? Did one ever radiate as much joyful sunlight as His Pat?) and nothing about women. Kazumi is nothing but a puerile male fantasy (ooh, gorgeous Oriental creative with her 'curtain of black hair' and her 'childlike innocence..') Frankly, the whole cynical misogynist rehash of every 'sensitive' lad-lit book ever written made me want to vomit. All over Harry's family. Family. His. Who he loves. Who love him. Good- because nobody else will.
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on 22 January 2008
Tony Parsons has been adopting the Chick lit approach of writing novels & passing them off as "blokish" as its from the mouth of a chap. Its just a repackaged Sophie Kinsella/Marion Keynes/Jill Mansell under a guy.
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on 13 February 2006
Tony Parsons made his name with "Man and Boy" depicting a modern British bloke with feelings and paternal affection. In "Man and Wife" he repeats that formula, but the book is unconvincing and overly sentimental: after 200 pages hearing about central character Harry's love for his dead father, his sick mother and his lovely son I was longing for an exciting plot twist. Yet there are none: the plot is repetitive, improbable and predictable.
Summary: not terrible, but sentimental and rather dull.
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on 21 September 2011
"Bad and Worse" is how i think of "Man and Boy" and "Man and Wife". the former was passable, if simplistic and fairly amateurish. This second one is as if the first got put into a blender. The exact same words come out in a slightly different order. (the blender sometimes leaves two words joined together, so "Pat" is always "darling Pat"). There is no artistic merit in this sad waste of a tree and the fact this sort of trash can get published is just depressing. I've read better fiction on the back of cereal boxes.
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on 6 October 2006
"Man and Boy" has the quirky, delightful charm of a relationship between adorable son and father-under-so-many-influences-of-changing-masculinity-that-he-doesn't-quite-know-where-to-put-himself-whilst-everyone-else-seems-so-together-around-him-ok-this-is-going-on-a-bit-but-you-get-the-point.

"Man and Wife" seems to be the story of a socially indept man, whose faults are entirely his own and related in no way to any changing attitudes or shift in moral values, running around dicking as many people as possible, wondering why he can't hold onto everything he apparently holds dear (but seems not to care about anyway).

If there was one book you could reach inside and give the central charcter a full blown slapping to, this would be a it. Like Charles Dickens' Dombey, he simply does not -deserve- the narrative resolution he achieves.

Tony Parsons writing style is all that saves this book, meaning you can get it done and out of your life in a short afternoon.
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on 1 April 2005
Like most others who have reviewed here I also enjoyed Man and Boy, which was a breath of fresh air and nice easy reading. Then I picked up the alarmingly similar One for my Baby, which had so many plot points that mirrored Man and Boy and showed up Parsons as a man bereft of new ideas. Man and Wife was the real low point though. It is awful, simplistic writing and a story that holds no thrills and no insights into modern life. I felt outraged that a/ I'd spent money on it, and b/ that the publisher hadn't handed it back to him saying, this really is not good enough. Like the similarly ghastly How to be Good by that hyped media darling Nick Hornby, there has to be better stuff out there than this. It was an insult to my intelligence.
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2009
Does this writer know about infidelity? if he's guessing then he's very close to the mark. Unfaithful to his first wife and then to his second and his poor first wife is cheated on again too after se gives up her life for her new husband. Jeez.

Feeling a bit neglected by his second wife he embarks on chasing and destroying another womans faith in men. Stereotypical?? indeed it is. Then no one wants to read about a faithful man do they. How boring would that be?

I finished it but I didn't feel sorry or anything for Harry, only sorrow for his current wife and ex wife and as I embark on 'my favourite wife' I think I'm going to get much the same again.
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on 28 January 2004
Tony Parsons introduces us to thirty-year old Harry Silver, "Man and Boy". who seemingly has it all: a beautiful wife, an angelic son and a high-paying job. His life is just about perfect, until one night he casually sleeps with a slim redhead co-worker. After the fateful night, his life falls apart. He is forced to learn what life and love are all about. It is a funny, sharp, warm and moving account of the relationships of one man.
Continuing Harry’s adventures, Parsons returns with a humorous and touching sequel, “Man and Wife”, which finds Harry still struggling with life, love and family demands. Gradually he comes to terms with his divorce, new love and parenthood but encounters more troublesome temptations.
This novel tackles the genuine dilemmas of present times, about why we fall in love and marry, why we stay together or break up. It revolves around the conflicts between parent and child, invasions on personal space, life-threatening accidents and the struggle to remain sane. Parson’s male perspective on love, sex and marriage hits the funny bone and the emotional jugular at the same time. His writing is witty, sharp and engaging and says more about human relationships than a set of self-help books.
Parsons is one of the finest male writers brave and successful enough to tackle contemporary emotional issues. A must for the Daddies and Big Brothers of Harry Potter wannabes everywhere. Ditch the wizardly skills and prepare to enrol in the adult school of the philosophical secrets of growing up and experience the magical order of love and marriage and the spells and prisons of parenthood.
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