He (Tony Parsons) might not know it but I judged this book by the perception that the author did not make a big deal out of the unfaithful act of the main character. As a woman who is very averse to unfaithfulness in relationships I could sense that the writer let the main character off too lightly and it irked me. I proceeded to rant to my office mate about the ills of cheating and demanded for a reason for a man’s justification to cheat when a woman will not be afforded the same accommodation. But I digress…the book Man and Boy by Tony Parsons is a well written story unfortunately I became distracted after the episode of an affair with a co-worker and my dissatisfaction with the main character’s attitude afterwards. In the writer’s words:
“The reason that most men stray is opportunity, and the joy of meaningless sex should never be underestimated. It had been a meaningless, opportunistic coupling. That’s what I had liked most about it”.
So maybe I don’t want this kind of honesty from a man who just cheated. Meaningless, opportunistic coupling and he liked it? That’s a load of hogwash! Please spare me the justification I can’t deal. Once I had read this part I was eager to find out what his wife would do if (and when) she finds out about the affair and guess what? She left! She didn’t condone it she packed her bags and said goodbye because the forever love that had vowed to stick to her had betrayed her love and trust.
What follows is the sickening reaction of the “affair-man” he makes it appear that it meant nothing and that she was overreacting.
He had strayed and it was not okay for her to leave? He had risked their marriage (beautiful little son included) and plunged into a meaningless pleasurable space for all of say five minutes and she’s meant to pat him on the back and say I am glad you came back to me? Oh please!
This is meant to be a book review but I just feel very strongly about this particular issue. Anyway, the story goes on with his wife moving to Japan and leaving their 4 year old with him and both parties finding new partners then a custody battle later ensues but thanks to the wise words of the main character’s mother (love means knowing when to let go) he decides to let his ex-wife have custody of their son for the sake of the child’s happiness. In between all of that the story swings around a few characters that are not particularly interesting and some events that help make the story somewhat interesting.
Okay, you know what? I think I am plain biased about this book so even though it was a good story I feel sad that the author somehow made me perceive that the main character expected his wife to stay after he had cheated on her. I won’t talk about forgiveness or any of that crap about men being men. Let’s just leave it at this;
Man and Boy was a good story but it pissed me off.
Have you read this book? Do you think there should be different standards for cheating? What would you do differently if you had written this story?