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This Was Not the Plan: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the acclaimed author of The Darlings comes an incisive, hilarious, and tender exploration of fatherhood, love, and family life through the story of a widower who attempts to become the father he didn’t know he could be.
Charlie Goldwyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with his quirky five-year-old son, Caleb, whose obsession with natural disasters and penchant for girls’ clothing have made him something of a loner at his preschool. The only thing Charlie has going for him is his job at a prestigious law firm, where he is finally close to becoming a partner.
But when a slight lapse in judgment at an office party leaves him humiliatingly unemployed, stuck at home with Caleb for the summer, and forced to face his own estranged father, Charlie starts to realize that there’s more to fatherhood than financially providing for his son, and more to being a son than overtaking his father’s successes.
At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, This Was Not the Plan is a story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means.
About the Author
Cristina Alger is a lifelong New Yorker and bestselling author of The Darlings, This Was Not the Plan, The Banker's Wife, and Girls Like Us. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. She lives in New York with her husband and children and is at work on her next novel.
Praise for This Was Not the Plan:
"THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN has everything I love in a story: wit; fresh, stunningly human characters; pitch-perfect sentences; piercing emotion; a big, gorgeous mess of a family; and a big, gorgeous heart. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read it again."
—Marisa de los Santos, author of The Precious One
"I love the writing of Cristina Alger. Her characters are complex and beautifully drawn. I lost myself in THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN."
—Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Rumor
"Note to reader: clear your schedule before you start this book, because you won't be doing anything else till you finish it."
—Jeff Arch, screenwriter (“Sleepless in Seattle”)
"With compassion and humor Cristina Alger delves into the lure of the 1%, while deftly exposing the cost that life exacts—a cost beyond price."
—Nicola Kraus, coauthor of The First Affair
"A funny, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting look at parenthood through the eyes of a single father. You won't just root for these characters—you'll fall in love with them."—Sarah Pekkanen, author of Things You Won’t Say
"Alger’s (The Darlings) new novel of love, loss, and parenthood is readable and relatable...uplifting and memorable."
— Publishers Weekly
“This Was Not the Plan proves a delightful read about parenting, love and plans gone awry."
— Associated Press
"[A] fast-paced, laugh-out-loud novel.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
"A breezy, uplifting read."
"Alger's darkly comic novel offers an engaging take on single parenthood from a man's viewpoint."
— Library Journal
"A big, heartfelt book that reads like your favorite sitcom....Charlie’s evolution to a secure, confident, stay-at-home dad is wonderfully satisfying, and he is as relatable as Will Freeman in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy.”
"Cristina Alger invokes humor and heart with This Was Not the Plan."
— Watch Magazine
Praise for The Darlings:
“Alger’s novel is realist fiction that marks the revival of the finance novel today. . . . Never before have stories seemed more important. It’s one of the virtues of Alger’s novel that it brings this point home to us—from finance, into fiction. And (hopefully) back.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“A suspenseful, twisty story.” —Wall Street Journal
“What happens to the Darling family in the course of a weekend is what carries this tale along, but it’s Alger’s description of quintessential New Yorkers, and how they survive, that adds the extra layer. . . . Alger has what it takes, in the best sense of the phrase.” —USA Today
“The Darlings moves so fast that it feels more like a thriller than a social-drama.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Penned by a former banker, this is a dishy yet thoughtful portrait of greed gone too far . . . . A page-turner.” —Good Housekeeping
“Two parts Too Big to Fail, one part The Devil Wears Prada, Alger’s debut is taut and compelling.”—Publishers Weekly
“Probably the most compulsively readable fiction to come out of the Wall Street financial scandal so far. . . . Alger knows the ins and outs of both Wall Street and an upscale NYC lifestyle, nailing all the details . . . Delicious reading.” —Booklist
“A financial thriller with a tone that fits somewhere between the novels of Dominick Dunne . . . and Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.”—Library Journal
“The best literary product of the financial crisis to date.”—Jay McInerney, author of The Good Life
“For those who have only gazed up at the palatial residences of Manhattan, this is a glimpse from the penthouse down.”—Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists
“Cristina Alger’s debut novel offers a fresh and modern glimpse into New York’s high society. I was hooked from page one.”—Lauren Weisberger, author of Revenge Wears Prada
“A rare, glittering glimpse into Manhattan’s banks, bedrooms, and private clubs, a material and psychological world rendered with extraordinary detail. A smart, gripping tale . . . complex and mesmerizing.”—Sarah Houghteling, author of Pictures at an Exhibition
“Cristina Alger has written a racing, vivid, multi-vocal chronicle of the new gilded age, with equal shades of Jay McInerney and Bernie Madoff. Start reading it and in three hundred pages or so you'll feel like a consummate New York insider, too.”—Charles Finch, author of A Burial at Sea