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The Best a Man Can Get: A Novel
ISBN 0767907140 / 9780767907149 / 0-7679-0714-0
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Some men are born fathers, while others have fatherhood thrust upon them. The protagonist of John O'Farrell's The Best a Man Can Get belongs indisputably in the latter category. When his first daughter is born, Michael Adams imagines her as the warden of a prison that will permanently deprive him of his youth and freedom. Terrified by his new responsibilities, he regularly escapes to a bachelor pad across the Thames, pretending to be at work. Another child arrives--and with still another on the way, it is only a matter of time until Michael's wife discovers his double life. At that point, he must make a choice between his family and his hedonistic haven.
By turns hilarious and touching, O'Farrell's book delves deeply into the anxieties of modern parenting. Yet the novel is not without empathy for the 21st-century father. After all, it's easy to imagine the lure of a child-proof hideaway, insulated from sleepless nights and dirty diapers. At the same time, Adams often wonders whether "just being tucked up warm and cosy" is really "the best a man can get". With its charming prose and its truant protagonist, this first novel is sure to win over even the most reluctant parent. --Greg Bensinger [via]