The Best a Man Can Get by John O’Farrell

Michael Adams loves his wife and his two children very much.  But he also loves his own space, and that’s why he spends a lot of time in his flat which he shares with three other men, where he can be as lazy as he likes, do the odd bit of work, and then go home to his family when he wants to spend time with them.  It’s not that he doesn’t like being with them – it’s just that he finds being a father is so [i]demanding[/i].  Michael thinks that his arrangement allows him the best of both worlds…but his wife Catherine doesn’t know about his other life.  She thinks that when he is away from home, he is working hard earning money to support his family.  It all works fine, until inevitably Catherine finds out what he’s really been doing when he’s not at home…

I loved this book.  Told from Michael’s point of view, it was very believeable and touching – and it was also laugh out loud funny, with a good giggle on almost every page.  The funny moments are mainly due to Michael’s attempts to keep his secret life hidden from his family, and there are many near misses.

Although Michael behaves in a less than admirable way, he is a very likeable character.  He is also very well drawn, as are the other characters including the peripheral ones.  There are many touching moments, especially where Michael examines the reasons why he feels the way he does about fatherhood.

His wife is also a hugely likeable character, and her sense of frustration at her husband’s absences (even when she believes that he is genuinely working) are very well depicted.

The writing flows easily and kept me turning the pages.  It certainly caused me to stay up late on a few nights, because I kept thinking “just a few more pages.”  The story had a surprising twist at the end, which I genuinely did not see coming.

I’ve read – and enjoyed – John O’Farrell’s non-fiction before now, and this was the first time I had read his fiction.  It certainly won’t be the last.  I now intend to seek out all other books by this author!  Highly recommended.

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