Parsons's first novel, a bestseller in his native England, is the unabashedly sentimental tale of a carefree husband suddenly thrust into single parenthood.
Harry Silver approaches his 30th birthday with something like dread. In the grip of a severe if premature midlife crisis, he buys an expensive sports car and takes the new associate producer at The Marty Mann Show, the small-time TV talk program he produces, to bed. His loving wife Gina, a Japanese translator who gave up her own career to be a full-time mom, can forgive the first infraction, but not the second; within hours she's taken off with their four-year-old son Pat. And although Harry swears his life is nothing without Pat—especially once he gets fired—it gets a lot more complicated when Gina takes off for Japan to catch up on all her missed opportunities and gives him his wish. There follow the requisite scenes of Harry failing at cooking and cleaning, losing every telephone argument with Gina (who gets much better lines than he does), wilting under the gimlet eyes of the mothers who wait with him outside school, looking for romance with the improbably receptive Cyd Mason, and having an even more improbable job (better boss, more flexibility, part-time hours) fall into his lap. Parsons's main addition to this familiar casserole is Harry's need to come to terms with his own father, the hero he'd always longed to be—a wish that's now coming true in the saddest way imaginable.
"This isn't Kramer vs. Kramer," Harry's lawyer tells him on Gina's inevitable return to England to fight for custody, but that's exactly what it is, right down to the Star Wars figures, the hard-won pieties, and the denial that the ’80s and ’90s ever happened. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember seeing this all before.