Browsing the library shelves and seeing this described as a book for fans of Noick Hornby and Tony Parsons I thought I would take a look. Alex's life is pretty darn perfect, a good job, nice house, gorgeous wife. But the grass is always greener. He's bored of work and dreams of setting up a coffee shop. He finally gets the momentum he needs to make a change when two things happen. First he discovers his wife is having an affair, then he discovers he has a teenage daughter. Her mother has died and he has been named Caitlin's guardian. While trying to figure out what to do about his marriage Alex has to get to know his daughter, learn a few parenting skills and get his new venture up and running.
Told in the first person from Alex's viewpoint the story is humourous but serious, and quite touching. I imagine for a lot of childless men in their 30s it would be a nightmare scenario and his tentative relationship with his 13 year old is so rocky that it made me smile when he appeared to make tiny breakthroughs. I mostly felt for him, but did find myself palm to face at some of his less impressive decisions. I thought Caitlin was a well-drawn character, but a little feistier than girls of her age I know. Wife Amanda was definitely not my sort of person, possibly another reason I was rooting for him to put his life back together without her.
The plot is simple to follow, maybe a little formulaic on the marriage front, and it's not a difficult read, but I was disappointed to figure out the twist very early on. Having seen the end coming it lessened the impact. However the emotional tone pulled at my heartstrings. If you are looking for an easy read in the lad lit vein then you might enjoy this book, but as a warning for those who aren't keen on bad language - Alex is fairly liberal with expletives.
Format: Paperback, borrowed from the library