Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review: Man and Boy

Somehow, I was quite hooked to Man and Boy, about a married man (Harry) who screwed up his life after he slept with other women: his wife (Gina) taking his son away and he lost his job. I am curious on how he manage to “restore” his life. I pick up the first chapter of this book in Nepal many years back, and I am fated to finish it now after I found it in my house few weeks back.

It’s funny that how such an unfortunate event can actually be good for someone, fulfilling the prophecy that there is always a silver lining no matter how hopeless something might seems like. I guess we always hated when things turned upside down (or not within our grasp), but it is these incidents which actually elevate us to be a better person. I know, “exam” is hard, and no one actually likes “exam” although it is supposing good for us. I guess we like the serenity and predictability in our life.

Anyway, the Gina felt that she had sacrifice a lot (especially her career) to build the family, and now she felt betrayed and regretted all her sacrifices for him and the family. She takes the son away from Harry, put the son with her father who actually abandoned her when she is young, and flew off to Japan to a job opportunity that she had always wanted. Harry pick up his son again and eventually learned to become a real father (a role he had conveniently neglected all this time). Gina promise to come back for the child, once she had settled in Japan. I guess the role switching is quite an irony here.

Anyway, the focus is on Harry: he gets a chance to “restart” his life. He learned to become a father, learn to put his son before his career, learn to get closer with his parents, and perhaps learn to really “love” someone. Love is not just about having a good time together, enjoying each other company and sleeping together. Love is having to accept something inconvenient, and having the heart to accept it for the rest of our life. Having said that, it also made us with wiser and more logical as we grow older; thus harder to fall in love based on emotional feelings alone. We get to think about many things with consideration into the far future, and we are not just thinking about ourselves anymore. Selflessness is something we have to learn eventually; and it is a requirement when we build a family with children. It’s no longer about what we like or what we wanted. Will we loose ourselves? It’s a bad thing? I am not there yet.

I like the style of writing, when the writer never dwells on the same issue more than 2 pages. Each chapter is separated into a few sections, where it switches focus on different events and perspectives. Without one realizing, he is back with the story I am interested again.

I seldom read fiction, because I think it’s a waste of time; perhaps Alchemist changed my mind. Not sure since when I started with Business & Marketing book; perhaps I was never quite a reader, as I can’t recall reading anything else besides the Chinese Kung Fu Novel of Jing Yong (金庸) – that was also for the purpose of improving my Chinese.

Life is full with surprises, doing something I never quite expect: hiking, dancing, karaoke. I still wonder why life is like a box of chocolate? With many flavors?

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