From Publishers Weekly
This third novel from the author of the immensely appealing Man and Boy is the amusing story of sad sack Alfie, who has returned to London from Hong Kong
following the death of his wife, Rose, the one and only true love of his life, in a scuba diving accident. Alfie, 34, is given to making sensitive, introspective remarks such as "she was my reason" and "That's what love did to me. Love messed up my heart." An affable enough fellow, he's barely living life in his skin as an English language teacher at Churchill's International School, narcissistically sleeping with his students while trying to cope with his parents' breakup and his grandmother's illness and death. Of course, he gradually comes out of his sleepwalking existence to recognize the error of his ways and begin down a path of spiritual fulfillment that includes tai chi instruction and the insight of professional TV wrestler the Slab and his book, Smell the Fear, He-Bitch. There are some lovely moments in the novel, when the author subtly reveals the details of Alfie's loss, mixed in with some clever humor, such as when he plays on the class differences between Alfie's lawyer pal Josh and Alfie's cleaning woman girlfriend, a romance that heads somewhat predictably in the direction of Pygmalion and Educating Rita. At its best, the novel is enjoyable fluff. One only wishes the author had created in Alfie a more dynamic character worthier of the reader's sympathies.
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Popular British author Parsons' third novel to be published in the U.S. (after Man and Boy  and Man and Wife ) is a heartfelt, true-to-life look at a young man grappling with the death of his wife. Alfie Budd found The One when he met Rose in Hong Kong. But when a tragic accident takes her away from him forever, he is completely lost. He returns to his parents' home in London only to discover his father, the best-selling author of a memoir about growing up poor, is having an affair with the family's au pair. Alfie finally gets himself a job teaching English as a second language to immigrants, and there he discovers a bevy of women who are willing to sleep with him. But it isn't until he meets Jackie Day, a tough young cleaning lady who wants him to be her literature teacher so that she can go to the university, that he actually starts to feel again. Like Parsons' other novels, this one deals with a man having to grow up and move on and is filled with details and observations that are moving, painful, and compellingly true. Another winner from Parsons. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.