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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How would you live your life again?
George Bailey - policeman, junk eater, cigarette smoker, man with a heart condition - not a good concoction. He's heading to an early grave at 47. The reality hits when he suffers a heart attack at work. A bitter sweet second chance at his life changes him when he is given the heart of a 19 year old boy via a donor transplant, and he thinks he is taking on the traits of...
Published on 25 Aug 2009 by LauzC

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not his finest work
I've read all Tony Parsons' books, and enjoyed his earlier novels much more than the later ones. I'm not sure if that's because my taste's changed, or if it's because his writing has. This book reminded me in some way of How to be Good by Nick Hornby - I'm not entirely sure why. (It also has a ring of films like Big and Freaky Friday!) I enjoyed How to Be Good more than I...
Published on 9 Aug 2009 by Cat


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How would you live your life again?, 25 Aug 2009
By 
LauzC (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
George Bailey - policeman, junk eater, cigarette smoker, man with a heart condition - not a good concoction. He's heading to an early grave at 47. The reality hits when he suffers a heart attack at work. A bitter sweet second chance at his life changes him when he is given the heart of a 19 year old boy via a donor transplant, and he thinks he is taking on the traits of this young boy.

To his wife Lara, he is another teenager to look after. To his kids, Rufus and Ruby, he becomes a friend rather than the parent he used to be. To his police mates, he is still George, but needs to be monitored like one of the kids on the block.

George soon comes to realise that his family and his old life are everything to him and all he needs. But he has to start from the beginning to win the hearts of his family again.

I have enjoyed all of Tony Parsons books, and this is another great true to life story. He has dealt with the real issues from the view of a modern male - a mid-life crisis and a desire to be young again - in a poignant and believable way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not his finest work, 9 Aug 2009
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
I've read all Tony Parsons' books, and enjoyed his earlier novels much more than the later ones. I'm not sure if that's because my taste's changed, or if it's because his writing has. This book reminded me in some way of How to be Good by Nick Hornby - I'm not entirely sure why. (It also has a ring of films like Big and Freaky Friday!) I enjoyed How to Be Good more than I enjoyed Starting Over, but that's not to say it wasn't a pleasant enough read. I liked the characters, who I thought were well developed, particularly the long-suffering Lara, and it was easy to read. The subject matter is interesting, and I suppose he was trying to tackle a serious topic in a light hearted way - the transplant story is really secondary to the "journey" that George goes on, and a catalyst for change. I read this book in a day, and found it an easy, unchallenging read. I can't imagine it will stick in my mind for long, or that I'll rush to lend it to anyone else in the way I did with Parsons' earlier books, but it kept me amused for a bit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clunky, predictable and lacking depth, 11 Dec 2009
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
This was my first (and no doubt only!) Tony Parson's novel. Reading the critical reviews of 'Man and boy' reflects much of my opinion of this work, although I suspect only the fans will be tempted into reading this subsequent offering. This is a story of a middle-aged policeman whose heart gives up and requires a transplant. The donor organ comes from a teenager, and our middle-aged recipient subsequently develops a teenage outlook on life. The major themes include growing up, parenting, life-goals, relationships, growing old and what makes us who we are.
The type of novel was much better done by Peter Carey's 'Bliss', which is very good. Parson's writing style is really fairly basic, and many of the scenes seemed rather clunky and poorly developed. The book chops around too much from scene to scene without developing any real flow or continuity. There are too many cliches and the attempts at humour very telegraphed and predictable. The result is really a bit of a mess. It doesn't really end but just stops, although I'm not complaining about that! At times it had the feel of being aimed at a teenage audience. It may appeal to those who want to pick up something light and unchallenging for a poolside holiday read. The book is really too bland to hate, so it avoids the 1 star rating on blandness alone! I can't quite understand whether the author is trying to write incisive social satire or comedy, but if you take both, mix and dilute them to homeopathic levels you will get something similar to this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm....., 9 Oct 2009
By 
R. Faulkner (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
My first Tony Parsons novel, and from what the other reviewers say, perhaps not the best to start with. I have to admit that I really hate the way that many modern writers dispense with the normal rules of sentence construction, so TP's ultra-short sentences, many of which begin with "and" or "but" were a big turn off. Tony, why not try joining five or six of your sentences together to make a nice coherent long one so that we can enjoy your stories without feeling as if we're driving down the M1 with traffic lights every fifty yards?
Having said that, I did enjoy this book. I eventually persuaded myself that his style of writing was a bit like listening to a mate tell a story down the pub, and it became a lot less frustrating. Read it on the beach or late at night, let the story ask questions of your relationships with your family and don't take it too seriously.
But watch out. And don't worry. The short sentences won't bite. At least not much. Not for long. Maybe. The end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What would we do with our life if we could have another chance to live it through?, 8 Jun 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Kindle Edition)
"Starting Over" by Tony Parsons is a novel with an interesting premise - what would we do with our life if we could have another chance to live it through.

The main character George Bailey has received a gift that all people are dreaming of, chance to live his life once again.
When he suffered a heart attack in his middle age, he would receive a heart of a teenager and his life will be changed literally overnight.
George will become thinking as teenager and his new best friends will become his teenager kids, daughter and son, which he hadn't understood before.

But that's not all, as all teenagers are dreaming of, he wants to enjoy his life fully and wants to change he world around himself.
Eventually George will discover that his dream is slowly becoming his nightmare, and slowly most of all, he will want to be his old self again...

First of all, unlike other Tony Parsons' novels, this one is not about main characters' marriages and divorces.
"Starting Over" is a story about growing up, about maturity, about aging, about giving up the dreams of our youth for something better, or something that is most achievable in life.
The novel very well described teenagers' life and due to that inside reader can found some great funny scenes like some during the wedding or the other with mobile in the theatre.
Generally speaking, the novel carries good lesson about second chances - it's not enough to get second chance, if you will waste it missing the chance to become better person.

Therefore, all those who enjoyed Tony Parsons' most popular novel "Man and Boy" will know what they can expect from this one and certainly will enjoy it.
Especially because it seems that the writer's literary skills become better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great writer - but not (quite) a great book, 29 Aug 2009
By 
Sam Holliday "saminblack" (Bath) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
I really like Tony Parsons - and I always have done right back to his days as a superb music journalist.

As such I have read all of his novels but sadly a number of them - including this one I'm afraid- just doesn't quite fully deliver the goods. It is still better than 90 per cent of the modern popular novels out there but I always think Mr Parsons is capable of something beyond even the (above) average.

This one, for instance, starts brilliantly. The opening two or three chapters are rivetting and as the characters unfold you are engaged, entertained and intrigued. It follows a 42-year-old father of two who is given a new life when he he has a heart transplant but bizarrely it is more 'new' than he expects as he seems to be inheriting some of the characteristics of his heart donor. All good so far.

But then it sort of loses its way a bit and we end up in all too familiar Parsons territory - where it occassionally gets just a bit too mushy and sentimental and our 'hero' realises that despite apparently wanting to be a different person with his new heart he still wants to be the same person of his 'old' heart - the good, family guy. Tony P is clearly desperate to show the world that men can be sensitive, loving and gentle as well as women but after several books saying the same thing I think women might now have got the message....

Despite that it is still well worth reading because some of the set pieces and characters are very memorable. I loved the hero's dad, I loved the scene where they rescue his daughter from some dodgy blokes and I liked the relationship between the man and his teenage son (when they avoided too much of that mush that is) and, as stated, even average Parsons is better than most other modern novellists produce.

So a good book but I think Tony P is capable of great books. It gets four stars - but he is a five star writer and I think he needs another five star book soon.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starting Over, Tony Parsons., 10 Aug 2009
By 
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
I'm a huge fan of Parsons' earlier books, Man and Boy, Man and Wife, One For My Baby, Stories We Could Tell etc. And found this fairly dissapointing compared to the afore mentioned. The plot development stalls towards the middle of the book, and a lot of 'story' is crammed in at the end. However as always with Tony Parsons, the characters are funny, believeble and interesting.

An enjoyable, lazy weekend read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another superb book by tony parsons, 30 Sep 2009
By 
R. Newman "Reggae fan" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
i have read all of tony parsons books and thouroughly enjoyed them all. this one, like all his others, tells a simple story. what makes his books so special is his characters. his books are always about people we know, friends, family, neighbours even if they are in situations we wouldn't find ourselves in. also he doesn't waste a single word. every word, sentence and paragraph is relevent and there is something on every page to surprise you and make you want to keep reading.
i couldn't recommend this and every other tony parsons book highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nauseating!, 28 July 2013
By 
J. P. Baird - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
The first chapter 'grabs you' and you'll want to read on but the rest is sentimental drivel. Women may enjoy the book rather than men ( at risk of being sexist).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very reabable, 15 Jan 2013
By 
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This review is from: Starting Over (Paperback)
Tony Parsons has a knack and plugging into the humanity of any given situation, and with this book it is no different. You feel that you can laugh and cry in equal measure and believe that you could be in their should, bring the characters and the situation alive.
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Starting Over
Starting Over by Tony Parsons (Paperback - 6 Aug 2009)
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