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The Boys Are Back In Town Paperback – 2 Aug 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Aug 2001
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New edition edition (2 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099410788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099410782
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,179,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"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)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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