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This Was Not the Plan

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,324 Ratings  ·  285 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Darlings comes an incisive, hilarious, and tender exploration of fatherhood, love, and family life through the story of a widower who has to become the father he didn't know he could be.

Charlie Goldwyn's life hasn't exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Touchstone (first published January 26th 2016)
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Rating details
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Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-publisher
This book was EXACTLY what I needed this week. While moments were tense and heartbreaking, overall this was an upbeat, sweet story that left me with a glowing feeling and challenged me to take a closer look at my parenting and where I might be lacking. Really looking forward to more from Cristina Alger!

With all the stress and drama of an unwanted kitchen remodel due to a leak in our slab, I was really needing the reminder of being thankful for what I have and this book was just the ticket. Watc
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'm pleasantly elated from reading "This Was Not The Plan". Fiona approves!!!
Whose Fiona you ask? Fiona brightens your day. She's a terrific supportive friend. She always has your back. She loves you exactly the way you are. She totally approves of pink clothes and purple sparkly nail polish on little boys and she loves donut holes--the sugar kind--not the ones with jelly inside. Fiona is Caleb's invisible friend. Caleb, 5-years-old, can use a friend like Fiona --( in the same way readers can us
Larry H
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
When Charlie Goldwyn's beloved wife Mira, the free spirit to his workaholic lawyer, dies unexpectedly and leaves him with a young son, he does the only thing he can think of—buries his grief in work. He has a few years to make partner, so he gives his all, and it doesn't matter that he has no work/life balance—it'll all pay off when Caleb is older and they have the money for everything he'll want.

Charlie is lucky that his twin sister Zadie is willing to give up her own life in order raise his so
Suzanne Leopold
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charlie Goldwyn was happily married and living in Manhattan while working at a prestigious law firm. Two years ago everything changed when he lost his wife in a plane crash. Following her death, he became immersed in his professional life. Charlie blocked all of his personal relationships including the one with his five year old son, Caleb. While pursuing a firm partnership, he missed his son’s fifth birthday dinner and other milestone events.

One evening during a firm party, Charlie has too much
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This Was Not The Plan is a fairly formulaic book, but good enough in the genre to keep me happily reading and engaged. Charley is a 35 year lawyer with a job that has him working all the time. He's also a widower with a 5 year old son Caleb. Charley's twin sister Zadie, who is very sweet but chronically unemployed and somewhat disorganized, lives with Charley and Caleb and looks after Caleb. After an impromptu drunken speech Charlie gives at a firm event goes viral, Charley's life whi ...more
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very funny and emotional at times. I really liked how "realistic" this book was, it wasn't your typical HEA and I think that's what I most liked about this book. Great book!!
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Charlie is a successful guy, lawyer at a big time firm, up for a partnership... on the road to the big time. Sounds great right?

Problem is, he's never let himself grieve for (view spoiler) and wife's deaths (not a spoiler, it says in the summary he's a widower) and he hardly sees his son.

After a speech at work goes awry, Charlie gets fired and for the first time, he's forced to slow down and figure out what he's going to do.

This was just a great story, the characters ar
Laura Rash
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Kind of a sweet but quirky story with lovable characters
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ik dacht dat dit een dertien-in-een-dozijn romantisch verhaaltje zou zijn. Prima, want daar stond mijn hoofd naar. Het had ook alle ingrediënten in zich: een jonge weduwnaar die zich stort op zijn werk, een tweelingzus met een hoek af, een schattig zoontje die de draad kwijt is na de dood van zijn moeder.
Maar al na het eerste hoofdstuk wou ik vrienden worden met de personages. En was ik benieuwd hoe hun leven verder zou verlopen. Eerlijk, het is een dertien-in-een-dozijn boekje. Maar een goeike
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

I've delayed writing this review because I don't really have a lot to say about This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger.

It's a quick, light read populated by charming characters (especially young Caleb), but there isn't anything particularly unique or memorable about it. Perhaps it is because it features a single father in a role more often relegated to a single mother, struggling with the work/life balance and difficult relationships, that it is receiving rave reviews online, or perhaps I have
Damian Serbu
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting vacation read. Solid characters and people, but the end and especially the resolution of the relationship with the absent father was over the top.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book!! Single dad Charlie Goldwyn, whose wife, Mira, tragically died in a plane crash a couple of years back, struggles with trying to balance life while working demanding hours as a lawyer in a prestigious law firm in New York City and raising his precocious five-year-old son Caleb. Luckily for him, his sister Zadie helps out with Caleb's care. Unfortunately (or perhaps not), Charlie loses his job after making a not-so-great speech at an office party in a somewhat drunken state. Now h ...more
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
3.5 I loved this at the beginning. I love relationship/family regular old drama and this seemed like it was just that..which the story was. But. towards the end something kept annoying me.
So we have this guy who's lost his wife. She died in a plane crash and he's mourning her. He's also a lawyer working tons of hours and he has a son.
Charles also has a sister Zadie who is living with him because she doesn't have much direction in her life and she spent the past recent years taking care of thei
Cindy Burnett
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
This Was Not the Plan is a sweet story about a dad, Charlie Goldwyn, whose life takes a sharp turn off the path he had planned for himself. The story opens two years after his wife has died. Charlie works all the time and doesn’t get to spend much time with his son, Caleb. Reaching his boiling point at a company party after too many drinks, Charlie makes a speech that gets him fired. As a result, Charlie ends up at home with his son; he gets to know Caleb and realizes all he has been missing. Ca ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"Every day, the world will grab you by the hand, yelling, "This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!" And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important." -Iain Thomas

Although not from this novel, that quote (A great one, eh?!) just about sums up this book. And I simply adore books about folks who finally figure out that you get to decide how you want to live yo
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Cute, light-heatered read about a grieving widower who is forced to bond with his 5 year old son.

Charlie Goldwyn, a widower and single father at the age of 35, is an over-worked lawyer who rarely sees his son, Caleb.Exhausted and drunk,Charlie is forced into giving a speech at a work event, which results in his firing. As a result, Charlie is finally available to spend time with Caleb and while doing so, he learns to face his grief and embrace what's important in life.

This Was Not the Plan is an
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, beautiful book. Alger writes a 5 year old with expertise. Read the first sentence about Caleb and you are in love. He steals your heart from the very beginning. His father is a flawed, lovable guy who has to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Still reeling from the loss of his wife in a plane crash, Charlie is one hot mess. His twin sister is raising his kid while he slaves away at work, he often makes the wrong decision, but when one of those decisions leaves him wi ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on [] single dad This Was Not the Plan sounds like a it will be a basic overwhelmed single parent tale. Luckily it was so much more. Charlie has been just fine since his wife died. His sister moved in and took over care of Caleb so he could continue on his upward path to partner. He has a plan and as long as he sticks to it everything will be fine. But in one instance, everything changes and as his world falls around him, he will realize what is truly impo ...more
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Charlie's life isn't going as he'd planned -and he was a planner and a person who expected himself to excel at everything. At the beginning of the novel, Charlie's life is in crisis - his sister who had taken care of his 5 year old son for the two years after his wife died in a plane accident, needs some vacation. Charlie has barely had time to spend with his son because he works 70+ hours a week at his law firm. After being fired from his job when he made some remarks in front of partners of th ...more
Susan Peterson
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I began reading this book, I expected it to be entertaining and witty, which it is; but what blew me away about this book was how emotionally invested I became in the lives of these characters and their stories. There were laugh out loud moments, cringe-worthy moments, but what I will remember most about this book are the tender, heartfelt scenes throughout. Charlie Goldwyn became a single dad to Caleb after losing his wife in a horrific plane crash, but he is also a corporate lawyer workin ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soms moet een verhaal niet super avontuurlijk, spannend of vernieuwend zijn. Soms moet een verhaal gewoon een verhaal zijn met toffe personages die hun fouten inzien en duidelijke beslissingen nemen. Personages die een familie vormen waar je misschien wel deel van zou willen uitmaken. Personages die geen karikatuur zijn, maar gewone mensen met hun goede kanten en minder goede kanten. Ik heb meegeleefd met Charlie, Zadie en Caleb en heb genoten van dit boek. Het is geen literatuur met de hoofdlet ...more
Kris Patrick
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Destined to become a rom-com for the big screen. Jason Bateman has his name written all over the part of Charlie. Or maybe Paul Rudd or Mark Ruffalo? Thinking Rashida Jones or Aubrey Plaza for Zadie. Cue the Sara Bareilles music.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Cristina Alger's second novel is witty and heart-breaking at the same time. Her characters are perfectly drawn and the writing is assured and funny in all the right places. Highly recommended!
Cindy Roesel
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lawyer’s drunken office-party speech is captured on camera and goes viral leaving him humiliated and unemployed.

In THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN (Touchstone) by Cristina Alger, Charlie Goldwyn has been litigating night and day for nearly a decade at one of New York’s top law firms, defending some of the guiltiest white-collar offenders. He’s making a boatload of money and hoping to make partner, but his home life has suffered. His wife, Mira, whom he rarely ever saw, died in a plane crash going to a w
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.

Charlie is a lawyer with all the perks- the nice office, the money, and is up for partnership. And Charlie is also a widower with a son he never has time for, until the bottom falls out.

Charlie gets to know his kid and himself. Characters our well developed and the story line is engaging.

A good read.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
This Was Not the Plan by Cristina Alger is a recommended novel about discovering what is important in life.

Charlie Goldwyn works long hours trying to make partner at the Manhattan corporate law firm where he works. Charlie is a widow whose 5 year-old son, Caleb, has been watched/raised by his twin sister, Zadie, since the death of his wife, Mira, two years ago. After spending a long 72 hours at work to complete a big case, Charlie just wants to go home, but he has to attend a party for the new a
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two stars is actually a bit generous.
Promising plotline, but no nuance to the characters, too many slapstick mishaps and overly contrived. It felt like a dot to dot puzzle when you know what the picture is going to be way before you finish.
Lynn Spencer
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read. Unlike much of my reading, this book isn't really a romance. The romantic elements to it are slight and frankly, didn't do much for me. What I enjoyed was the main focus of the story - the lead character finally getting to know himself and building a strong relationship with his son.

Charlie Goldwyn used to be a hard-charging litigator. He never planned to be a widower in his 30s, but there it is. His life consists of working hard to make partner in a large New York firm, while he la
May 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Lu en français.

Je n'ai vraiment pas apprécié ce livre. La prémice me semblait bonne, mais on passe rapidement de la mort de sa femme, à son travail, ce qui aurait dû être un drame énorme passe pratiquement inaperçu... Je n'ai pas du tout aimé l'écriture non plus, peut-être est-ce dû à la traduction, mais je n'ai pas accroché. Bref, pas grand chose de positif sur ce livre selon moi...
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Summer officially started yesterday and what a better way then to kick it off with an all around fabulous read. This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger won me over with the first few paragraphs and held me all the way until the end. I love, love, loved this book. It was touching at times, hilarious and thoughtful- all the things you want in a great book. I chose this book as my 3rd “Poolside Pick” selection because it is the perfect beach or pool bag accessory and you will not be able to put it ...more
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