Cover image for Man and boy
Man and boy
Parsons, Tony.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, 2001.

Physical Description:
353 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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A witty, often eye-dabbing, always heartwarming love story between a father and his four-year-old son. Set in London, this is the not-to-be-forgotten saga of Harry Silver, who has it all: a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, and a great job in the media. But in one night of infidelity, he throws it all away. His wife leaves to take a chance on a new life. Harry is left at home with the daunting and exhilarating task of raising his son by himself. How Harry Silver learns to love his own father, finds a new love and makes the hardest decision of his thirty-plus years provides the magic and tension of this novel.

Author Notes

Tony Parsons is a writer in England. In the 1970's, Parsons was a music journalist for NME, the British equivalent of Rolling Stone. His interviews with some of the biggest bands on punk music made him a cult figure among the youth of England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Harry Silver is in the prime of his life, on the cusp of turning 30. He's happily married to Gina, with whom he shares a four-year-old son, Pat. But Harry's world gets turned upside down when he rashly sleeps with a coworker after a tough day at work. When Gina finds out, she leaves him, flying to Japan to pursue her dream of being a translator. She leaves Pat with Harry temporarily, and suddenly Harry has to figure out how to take care of his son and make a living. With the help of his parents and the new woman in his life, Harry begins to adapt to the role of being a single parent. Harry grows closer to both his son and his own father, who has an Old World toughness that Harry has never been able to connect to. Gina soon returns to claim Pat, and Harry realizes he's not ready to give his son up. A runaway best-seller in Britain, this warm, moving novel is certain to be a hit here, too. --Kristine Huntley

Publisher's Weekly Review

The theme of this alternately wry and maudlin debut from London writer Parsons "love means knowing when to let go" won't make Love Story's mantra obsolete, but this novel shimmers with a sentimentality that could appeal widely to those who enjoyed Segal's romance classic and to their progeny. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Harry Silver blows everything by indulging in a one-night stand with a young assistant on the English TV talk show he produces. When Harry's wife, Gina, discovers his adultery, she jets off immediately to pursue job opportunities in Japan, leaving Harry in temporary custody of their adorable four-year-old son, Pat. Parsons captures the free-floating angst of a man who senses his horizons constricting and the panic of a suddenly single father confronting the issues of child care. Harry's misery is compounded by the subsequent loss of his job; his conviction that he's failed his own loving father, a WWII war hero; and the reluctance of the new woman in his life, an American waitress, to commit emotionally to him. Parsons knows how to pace his pages turn as if in a high wind and he has a flair for pushing emotional buttons, perhaps particularly those of men on the far side of 30 or singledom. Many readers will love this novel; others will decry its obvious calculation, but most will agree that Parson deals in a highly entertaining manner with personal issues of import and that, more often than not, he tells it very true. (Apr.) Forecast: This novel has ridden English bestseller lists for about half a year, with 500,000 copies sold in the U.K. alone. Will it duplicate that success here? It might. Parsons is a media celebrity in England, and British audiences familiar with or curious about his personal life (he received custody of his son after a divorce, and his father was a war hero) boosted sales there. But Sourcebooks is going all out with this title which launches its fiction imprint, Sourcebooks Landmark with a 50,000 first printing and three national tours in 20 cities, as well as 10,000 companion discussion guides. The book is also a Literary Guild Featured Alternate. Most importantly, it's the kind of novel that can soar on good word of mouth which it's going to get, and a lot of it. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This first novel from British journalist and TV personality Parsons is also the first fiction published by Sourcebooks's new Landmark imprint. For Parsons's alter ego, Harry Silver late-night TV talk show producer, married man and father of one, just about to turn 30, life suddenly takes a wrong turn when he yearns for (and buys) a red sports car and has a one-night stand with another woman. Harry's adolescent fantasy is costly, however: he loses his job, and his wife walks out to pursue the dream she gave up when she married and sets off for Japan, leaving him in charge of his four-year-old son. Harry finds life as a housefather a trial, but he has the support of loving parents, especially his competent father, a World War II hero he can never hope to emulate. Harry's prolonged adolescence is at times painful for both him and the reader, and his grappling with growing up seems more baby boomer than Gen X, though the book is set in the 1990s. Nevertheless, this portrayal of becoming a "real" parent, coming to terms with fatherhood and loss, and dealing with the complicated relations of the new families created after divorce is often touching. For larger collections. Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



the most beautiful boy in the world

It's a boy, it's a boy!

It's a little boy.

I look at this baby-as bald, wrinkled, and scrunched up as an old man-and something chemical happens inside me.

It-I mean he-looks like the most beautiful baby in the history of the world. Is it-he-really the most beautiful baby in the history of the world? Or is that just my biological programming kicking in? Does everyone feel this way? Even people with plain babies? Is our baby really so beautiful?

I honestly can't tell.

The baby is sleeping in the arms of the woman I love. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the pair of them, feeling like I belong in this room with this woman and this baby in a way that I have never belonged anywhere.

After all the excitement of the last twenty-four hours, I am suddenly overwhelmed, feeling something-gratitude, happiness, love-well up inside me and threaten to spill out.

I am afraid that I am going to disgrace myself-spoil everything, smudge the moment-with tears. But then the baby wakes up and starts squawking for food and we-me and the woman I love-laugh out loud, laugh with shock and wonder.

It's a small miracle. And although we can't escape the reality of everyday life-when do I have to get back to work?-the day is glazed with real magic. We don't really talk about the magic. But we can feel it all around.

Later my parents are there. When she is done with the hugs and kisses, my mother counts the baby's fingers and toes, checking for webbed feet. But he is fine, the baby is fine.

"He's a little smasher," my mom says. "A little smasher!"

My father looks at the baby and something inside him seems to melt.

There are many good things about my father, but he is not a soft man, he is not a sentimental man. He doesn't gurgle and coo over babies in the street. My father is a good man, but the things he has gone through in his life mean that he is also a hard man. But today some ice deep inside him begins to crack and I can tell he feels it too.

This is the most beautiful baby in the world.

I give my father a bottle I bought months ago. It is bourbon. My father only drinks beer and whiskey but he takes the bottle with a big grin on his face. The label on the bottle says Old Granddad. That's him. That's my father.

And I know today that I have become more like him. Today I am a father too. All the supposed landmarks of manhood-losing my virginity, getting my driving license, voting for the first time-were all just the outer suburbs of my youth. I went through all those things and came out the other side fundamentally unchanged, still a boy.

But now I have helped to bring another human being into the world.

Today I became what my father has been forever.

Today I became a man.

I am twenty-five years old.

Excerpted from Man and Boy: A Novel by Tony Parsons All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.