'This Was Not the Plan': A workaholic dad learns to adapt

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Charlie Goldwyn's life plan has gone awry. He didn't plan on being raised by a single mother. He didn't plan on his wife dying. He didn't plan on relying on his twin sister to help him parent his eccentric 5-year-old son, Caleb, who has only imaginary friends and an obsession with female accessories. Finally, he didn't plan on drinking three glasses of vodka at a company meeting, climbing onto the stage with a microphone, announcing his disdain for the entire law firm and waking up the next morning to find that the whole incident is now a YouTube sensation.

And that's how Charlie finds himself jobless and facing fatherhood, a role he has, until now, handily avoided by working around the clock in order to make partner at his firm. In between scheming to get his career back, Charlie must reacquaint himself with Caleb, which means everything from locating his son's pre-school classroom to helping him make friends who exist in real life. But when Charlie's twin announces some (planned) life changes of her own, Charlie is forced to not only jump into his new future, but also take a better look at the past in order to move on.

While at times the dialogue detours into neatly packaged lines only vaguely resembling real life, on the next page the characters slip into relatable banter. And though more than once the foreshadowing feels spoon-fed, there are enough surprises to keep readers engaged, laughing and even misty-eyed. With endearing characters and a 70-pound mutt named Norman who smells like cabbage and suffers from irritable bowel syndrome providing solid laughs, "This Was Not the Plan" proves a delightful read about parenting, love and plans gone awry.


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