THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN by Cristina Alger


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A drunken office-party speech changes the course of a widower dad’s life.

Charlie Goldwyn has been working night and day for 10 years in the litigation department of a top New York law firm, defending corporate clients and striving to earn a lucrative and prestigious partnership. His wife, whom he rarely saw, died in a plane crash, and his twin sister, Zadie, is helping him raise his 5-year-old son, Caleb. After being at the office for 72 hours straight on a big case, he has a few too many drinks at the summer associates’ welcome party and gives an unfiltered speech about life at the firm, which goes viral and gets him fired. At first Charlie wants nothing more than to exact revenge on the person who filmed him—another lawyer up for partner in his department—and get his job back. But as he spends more time with Caleb, he begins to think, “Maybe it’s time to do things a little differently….Maybe I need to loosen up.” He meets a fellow stay-at-home dad and reconsiders the life he’s been leading. When Zadie takes a vacation, he begins to realize how much he’s missed with Caleb. But he manages, until Zadie maneuvers him into reconciling with their own father. To everyone’s surprise except the reader’s, Charlie’s initial irritation gives way. Alger adds a touch of romance without going overboard, and she makes Charlie fairly three dimensional. The other characters are less fully formed, even a little stock. To her credit, Alger doesn’t serve up a perfect ending and leaves some of the resolution up to the reader's imagination. But she doesn’t really offer anything new.

Working night and day isn’t as fulfilling as being with family; readers may wonder why Charlie doesn’t already know that.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-0375-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2015


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