The Boys Are Back In Town Paperback – 2 Aug 2001
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Achingly funny and almost unbearably moving" (Daily Mail)
"Carr's brilliantly written account of life as a single parent should become a required manual on parenting" (Sunday Times)
"Both men and women need his confident, politically incorrect but thoroughly realistic assertions." (Independent)
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
From a psychological view a very good look at the male (from child to adult) psyche.
...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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm not sure I would recommend driving a car with the kids on the bonnet but this is a great read.Published on 18 Sept. 2013 by Cathal O'B
This well written book gave some great insights into the differences in the way men and women parent. Very interesting and heart warming.Published on 13 Mar. 2010 by Boo
Fantastic, moving book. You'll be laughing out loud one moment and crying the next.The Boys are Back in TownPublished on 19 Aug. 2009 by A.Non