Man and Boy

ISBN: 9781402281952

By: Tony Parsons

Published: 06/04/2013

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“Set your other books aside for a day or two and read straight through Man and Boy.” —USA Today

Some situations to avoid when preparing for your all-important, finally-I-am-fully-grown thirtieth birthday:

•Having a one-night stand with a colleague from work.
•The rash purchase of luxury items you can't afford.
•Being left by your wife.
•Losing your job.
•Suddenly becoming a single parent.

If you are coming up on thirty, whatever you do, don't do any of that. It will f*** up your whole day.



the most beautiful boy in the world

It’s a boy, it’s a boy!

It’s a little boy.

I look at this baby—as bald, wrinkled, and scrunched up as an old man—and something chemical happens inside me.

It—I mean he—looks like the most beautiful baby in the history of the world. Is it—he—really the most beautiful baby in the history of the world? Or is that just my biological programming kicking in? Does everyone feel this way? Even people with plain babies? Is our baby really so beautiful?

I honestly can’t tell.

The baby is sleeping in the arms of the woman I love. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the pair of them, feeling like I belong in this room with this woman and this baby in a way that I have never belonged anywhere.

After all the excitement of the last twenty-four hours, I am suddenly overwhelmed, feeling something—gratitude, happiness, love—well up inside me and threaten to spill out.

I am afraid that I am going to disgrace myself—spoil everything, smudge the moment—with tears. But then the baby wakes up and starts squawking for food and we—me and the woman I love—laugh out loud, laugh with shock and wonder.

It’s a small miracle. And although we can’t escape the reality of everyday life—when do I have to get back to work?—the day is glazed with real magic. We don’t really talk about the magic. But we can feel it all around.

Later my parents are there. When she is done with the hugs and kisses, my mother counts the baby’s fingers and toes, checking for webbed feet. But he is fine, the baby is fine.

“He’s a little smasher,” my mom says. “A little smasher!”

My father looks at the baby and something inside him seems to melt.

There are many good things about my father, but he is not a soft man, he is not a sentimental man. He doesn’t gurgle and coo over babies in the street. My father is a good man, but the things he has gone through in his life mean that he is also a hard man. But today some ice deep inside him begins to crack and I can tell he feels it too.

This is the most beautiful baby in the world.

I give my father a bottle I bought months ago. It is bourbon. My father only drinks beer and whiskey but he takes the bottle with a big grin on his face. The label on the bottle says Old Granddad. That’s him. That’s my father.

And I know today that I have become more like him. Today I am a father too. All the supposed landmarks of manhood—losing my virginity, getting my driving license, voting for the first time—were all just the outer suburbs of my youth. I went through all those things and came out the other side fundamentally unchanged, still a boy.

But now I have helped to bring another human being into the world.

Today I became what my father has been forever.

Today I became a man.

I am twenty-five years old.


Format: eBook ePub

Length: 8.25 in
Width: 5.5 in
Weight: 0.00 oz
Page Count: 368 pages


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