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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, sad, inspiring book about bringing up boys
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...
Published on 18 Jan 2001

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a provocative newspaper column
My wife and I both enjoyed reading the book as it was more discussion provoking than thought provoking. I suggested it might be good for her book group - she said the discussion of how dreadful men were would be far too predictable!
...Initially his character is annoyingly pompous (a lot of references to cute things the boys did or said)- but as the book progresses...
Published on 6 Mar 2001


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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, sad, inspiring book about bringing up boys, 18 Jan 2001
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. There is another reason you want to buy this one right away and give it to everyone even if they've just had their Birthday and you spent more than you meant to on their present and took them out to dinner and you know they already got lots of books for Christmas and they've got their own account at Amazon anyway. The Boys are Back in Town gives you genuine insight into the different ways women and men interact with their children, especially with their boys.
Women (usually) nurture better, but protect too much - mostly because they love so much. Fathers (usually) can give more distance, allow them more rope, take more risks. Carr is not a polemicist and he's not suggesting we should send women back to Mars or out to work or onto courses to get in touch with their masculine sides. He doesn't think his take-away littered, sock-strewn, telly-dominated, germ and gym-kit laden environment is a better place to bring up kids. It's just that he observes and learns and we observe and learn that some of what's missing probably isn't badly missed. We see some really rubbish and typically male behaviour from Carr and his boys, but also see them grow together and develop in good ways that wouldnt have happened if there had been a mum there. You still wish his lovely, funny wife was alive - and in part this book is a love letter to her - but you know they would be less likely to have played hide and seek in the park, in the dark with her around. This is stuff that all parents probably think about some of the time, but most should probably think about more of the time. Ten times more readable than any Kitzinger or Spock, and twenty times more entertaining, this is a personal story with universal lessons. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight, 20 Mar 2010
By 
Mrs. Audrey Williams (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Boys Are Back (Paperback)
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
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
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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
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This review is from: The Boys Are Back (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Boys are back, 2 Mar 2010
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Mary Evans (Heathfield, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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Anyone who has sons will recognise much in this book. Vast differences between male and female parenting are also sharply observed. At times it seems that Carr is almost proud of his children's inhibitions - as when his son is on a boat and shouts out about disembowellinng a swan - whilst at the same time stating the importance of good manners. That said, this common sense, hands off approach to bringing up boys seems to have much to commend it. I'd be interested to what kind of adults his boys turn into.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Boys Are Back In Town, 19 Aug 2009
By 
A.Non (London, UK) - See all my reviews
Fantastic, moving book. You'll be laughing out loud one moment and crying the next.The Boys are Back in Town
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a provocative newspaper column, 6 Mar 2001
By A Customer
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My wife and I both enjoyed reading the book as it was more discussion provoking than thought provoking. I suggested it might be good for her book group - she said the discussion of how dreadful men were would be far too predictable!
...Initially his character is annoyingly pompous (a lot of references to cute things the boys did or said)- but as the book progresses you feel more sympathetic as he acknowledges some of his failings and becomes more humourous. The problem with the book is that it is not a story but rather a series of newspaper columns asserting contentious points stridently as if trying to provoke a reaction eg. it's ok for young boys to watch X rated movies as long as they don't have nightmares, other people overreact to him driving along with my son on the bonnet of his car, the only reason he didn't treat a bite from the cat with antiseptic was because he didn't want to appear weak in front of a woman. After a while though you realise he is not promoting a personal philosophy on how to bring up boys - in particular when he describes his ugly depressive mood swings and his inability to maintain a relationship with his older son. He's just trying to get by and justify to us (and himself I presumably) why he's doing what he's doing.
What story there is is the autobiographical description of his wife's death and how they coped with it. The part of the book dealing with the death is truly heartbreaking - and whilst the picture of the woman he paints is idealised - who can blame him? - what a marvellous way for the boys to remember her. (This contrasts with the hints he gives about how awful his first wife was.)
Overall - very readable, quite provocative but at the end of it you don't feel any the wiser.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars read this with 'the stork club' by freely, 29 Feb 2008
By 
Ms H. M. Conner "where Mary Poppins meets Att... (downwind of Bournville) - See all my reviews
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Which is about a man who drives away two wives by being, basically, the bloke in this book. It's fiction, written by a woman, and tends to be described as 'over-the-top' by women I know who haven't read this yet...

And then they realise: not so much 'over the top', more 'under the bottom' (just don't open the padlocked box in the basement...)

Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted - however, me and my girls loved it altogether.

Boys are *so* much nicer when you can leave them flat without worrying about their spine breaking...

Helen
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The Boys Are Back
The Boys Are Back by Simon Carr (Paperback - 7 Jan 2010)
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