Will Jackson is a 30-year-old life coach who has decided to put his own life in order. Will reckons he knows how to bring meaning to his shallow existence. He has decided it's time to become a father. However, there is one small flaw in the plan - he hasn't yet found a woman to start a family with. His friends have their doubts. Even if Will finds a partner, will he make a good dad? His previous nurturing skills (house plants and tropical fish) have left a lot to be desired. As for his previous girlfriends, they haven't exactly been the maternal type. Despite his friends and his own mother telling him he's mad, Will refuses to be deterred. He decorates his spare room, swaps his sports car for a 4x4 and sets out on a quest to find a woman who will help him fulfil his dream. He's got a few ideas of what he's looking for. In his own words - "She's got to be smart, well dressed...come from a decent home, have a good job. And obviously she can't have any physical deformities. Or mental ones. Or be fat". The question is, where is he likely to find her?
The novel charts Will's adventures as he blunders through the world of online dating, Friends Reunited, fertility clinics and blind dates set up by well-meaning friends. From trying to win back an ex to auctioning his services on eBay, Will is determined to do whatever it takes. If all this wasn't enough to deal with, he still has a collection of dysfunctional clients taking their place on his couch at work and just when things look as if they couldn't get more complicated, he is forced to confront some truths about his past.
This is a book that is often funny, sometimes silly and occasionally quite insightful.
At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Will and his best friend, Tom, who is married with children. Will regularly confides in Tom and their friendship demonstrates that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Will envies Tom's nuclear family and what he sees as domestic contentment, but Tom envies Will's bachelor lifestyle and the freedom that goes with it.
I found Will a likeable character, although ludicrously dim to the extent that it stretches credibility. He reminded me a bit of Adrian Mole because he is so naïve and fails to spot things that are glaringly obvious. He gets the wrong end of the stick time and time again and it does become a little irritating after a while. However, we also see his vulnerable side. His father left him when he was still a baby and, although Will hasn't got everything worked out about parenthood, one thing he's sure of is he'll never do that to a child of his own. I found Tom quite amiable too. He is an actor who spends more time 'resting' than working and is somewhat under his wife's thumb. Although he clearly adores his wife and kids, he can't stop ogling the 'yummy mummies' on the school run and gets upset when Will replaces his sporty babe-magnet of a car for something more practical. As Tom puts it, "half the reason I hang around with you is so I get to go in your flash car once in a while." I found Tom a very human, credible character.
I enjoyed the dialogue between Will and Tom, particularly where Tom tries to give Will the benefit of his experience of relationships and parenting. His wry comments on life often made me smile. I loved the scene in the pub where Tom advises Will to have his fertility checked out and makes a comparison between low sperm count and alcohol-free lager. He also warns Will that a couple's sex life can decline somewhat after the children are born and tells him - "Nowadays, for us, sex is like the Isle of Wight. We remember it being a nice place, but we don't go back there very often." I thought that was a great line!
It was interesting to read a book written from the male perspective, although the female point of view is put across too in the form of Barbara, Tom's wife, who has strong opinions of her own about relationships and parenting. Barbara does come across as a bit patronising towards the two men, however, and I didn't really warm to her character because of this. The interactions between these three characters provide astute observations about what men and women want from relationships and from life in general.
There were some genuinely comic moments. My favourite scene of all is when Will goes to Gap to buy clothes he considers suitable for a prospective parent, and he ends up having an embarrassing misunderstanding in a unisex changing room. This made me laugh out loud. I also love the account of when Will attends a fertility clinic to arrange a sperm count and he makes an assumption about what a red-faced man has just been doing in the cubicle, but it turns out to be something quite different. Sometimes things do become rather farcical, such as a case of mistaken identity on a blind date, which leads to an undignified tug of war in the middle of Starbucks.
Would I recommend it?
Yes. I liked it a lot. I found it interesting to read a story from a male point of view. I have no idea whether men really sit in the pub discussing such things as commitment, sex, relationships and break-ups, but I enjoyed Will and Tom's thoughts on these subjects and, as the book is by a male author, I can only assume that in his experience men do sometimes open up to each other. The book reminded me of Bridget Jones' Diary in the way that it contrasts the lives of married people and singletons, except this time through a man's eyes. It made me realise that the gulf between married and single is almost as vast as the gulf between male and female.
The ending is somewhat predictable. It didn't really spoil the book for me, however, because, although I guessed what would happen, I didn't guess exactly HOW it would happen, and there were still a few surprises along the way. I did feel as if Will had developed as a character by the end of the book, as a result of his experiences and there were certain scenes that genuinely moved me. Although it was essentially a comedy, I felt it shrewdly depicted modern relationship situations and the pressures that people feel to live up to society's expectations and the way we have a tendency to become fixated on one thing that we assume will make us happy.
This is a review of the book 'From Here to Paternity' by Matt Dunn.
I came accross this author in the book 'the ex boyfriend's handbook' and found Dunn's style of humourous writing quite easy going so was keen to read this one.
The Storyline focuses on Will Jackson, about to turn 30 with a long list of failed romances and liaisons. His biological clock is ticking and he decides he wants to be a dad.
The only problem? He's not sure who he wants to be the mother of his baby! He frequently consults his 'smug married' friends for guidance and counselling as he sets aboard his journey to find a mother for his baby.
Will really does explore all avenues from internet dating, friends reunited and the school-run mums to selling himself on ebay and going on breakfast TV. He has a string of disasterous experiences which all made me laugh.
There are a few 'potential' ladies in the storyline that you think 'could be the one' but Dunn keeps you guessing right until the end with a cleverly written page that I won't give away here in case you want to read this for yourself!
So, overall I liked this book. I read it in a couple of days and it wasn't very challenging but 'chick lit written by a man' gives it a fresh angle. I'm not sure I bought the storyline as what man trades in his sports car for a 4x4 and decorates his spare room as a nursery and fits child locks to the kitchen draws before he even knows who he's making a baby with?!
Will Jackson is a desperate man - desperate to be a dad, that is. Tired of his laddish lifestyle, he's redecorated the spare room, traded in his beloved sports car for a 4×4, and even drawn up a list of his favourite baby names. In fact, there's only one thing left he's got to do - find a female who'll have his child.
But where on earth is he going to find a woman who meets his exacting standards? Certainly not in the usual bars and clubs he frequents. But Will has a plan - you can find everything else on the Internet these days - so why not someone to start a family with?
From Friends Reunited, through the weird world of online dating, even to auctioning his 'services' on Ebay, Will's journey to paternity is a hilarious romp through the pitfalls of procreation. But when push comes to shove, is Will prepared to trade passion for Pampers?
What do men really look for when it comes to starting a family? Can the perfect mother also be the perfect partner, or are there more important things than a nice-fitting pair of genes?
I first read about Matt Dunn when I read his second novel "The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook" and I found it hilarious and a really good read - so good in fact I've read it twice. From Here to Paternity didn't have as many laugh-out-loud moments as Ex-Boyfriends Handbook but was still a good read. My favourite scene was in the Starbucks when Will had the twins, that was really funny.
It was an odd premise for a novel: a man with a biological clock. Not only that but it was ticking - loudly. So Will goes from one extreme (internet dating) to the next (putting himself on Ebay and going on national TV). Also a funny point is his job: a lifecoach with no qualifications but his knowledge of life.
The supporting characters were also great, Emma, the girl who works in Starbucks with a secret, Tom & Barbara, best friends, and Jen, his receptionist. Will Will fulfil his quest or is it all one big lesson and what he's looking for isn't just to become a dad but to actually find love?
First reviewed at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
I was browsing through the library shelves the other day when I can across From Here to Paternity. The blurb sounded good so I picked it up. It was only when I went to start reading the book that I realised the author of my new chick lit genre book was actually a man! Men don't write chick lit books! At first I'll admit I wasn't sure what to think about this and then I realised it might be nice to get a male perspective on chick lit.
The book is centred on Will Jackson, written in the first person; Will takes us through his quest for love.
At 30 years old, he is fairly attractive, has a good job, nice sports car, own flat, but he's single. He is starting to question his life and realises that he wants a family like his best friend and most people his age. He also wants to be able to be a father to his own child, something that he never had growing up.
It can't be that difficult can it to get a girlfriend and settle down? Well apparently it is when you're looking for it.
We see Will go through almost every situation he can to find his bride, from internet dating, blind dates, tracking down old flames, putting himself on Ebay and finding himself on daytime TV.
The book is told in such a way that all the above situations gel together and you don't feel like you're being taken on a whirlwind by Matt Dunn, the author. He manages to fit humour as well as very bizarre situations into a book that appear farfetched but actually fit well into the storyline.
I found the book to be very slow starting, but I think I had a block against it being written by a man to start with. Once I got past the first 50 pages and I realised that it was well written, I found myself living Will's life with him. I wanted to talk to these women he was meeting and tell them he was a nice guy, even though I only met him a couple of pages ago, and that he wasn't the red faced stuttering man he was coming across as.
The plot doesn't have too many twists and turns, and any reader of chick lit can hopefully see where the ending will get to. There are subtle references in the book that refers to the ending which I picked up on very easily, but I read a lot of chick lit.
Will Will find his true love and become the father he's always wanted to be? You'll have to move into his flat for a few days to find out for yourself.
Price: £5 (Amazon)
I had never heard of Matt Dunn before reading this novel, but I'm glad that I gave him a chance. I was given the book by my sister, who is usually a very good judge of what I'll enjoy. I was sold when she said it was funny and had babies: what more could I ask for?
This is actually Matt Dunn's third novel, his other books being 'Best Man' and 'The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook'.
'From Here To Paternity' centres around a character called Will Jackson: Will is a life coach, he owns a lovely flat in Richmond and earns £100 an hour. Oh, and his office overlooks Ann Summers. Every young man's dream life, right? Not if you're Will. Will has decided that he is fed up of being alone and wants to become a father; all he needs to do is to find someone willing to be the mother of his child, so he sets out to find a suitable woman by his next birthday. Cue some amusing moments with online dating nutters, blind dates and cleaning ladies.
Will is aided [or at least laughed at] in his endeavours by his best friend Tom [a struggling actor] and his wife, Barbara [who seems to be really mean!]. This couple have the life that Will aspires to, yet he is completely incapable of taking any of their advice when it comes to how he can get the same thing.
I did really enjoy this book. The writing style was engaging and I read it in two sittings; Will's character is endearing and his mother is mad but great. The only characters that I didn't really like were Barbara [possibly because I'm a little scared of her!] and Tom [who seemed a bit useless!]. I didn't think that the problems between Will and his father were very well dealt with - these issues are used as a convenient excuse for the history of Will's love life, so I would have thought that Will and his father's relationship should be an important part of the story, but I feel it's dealt with far too quickly. My second teeny gripe is the rather abrupt ending of the book with everything suddenly sorted out in the last couple of chapters.
That being said, the ending is lovely and really heart warming, if a little predictable: it's just the ticket if you want to curl up with in an armchair with a cup of tea. You'll smile and laugh and by the end, feel a lot better about the world!
Published by Simon and Schuster in 2007. 390 pages.
Now, I hope I don't sound too sexist when I say this, but I am not really a reader of books written by men. I guess this is mainly because most of the writers in the genre which I read the most, chick-lit, are women, but also because I have read a few books by men which have been dire and put me off a bit. But this particular book has gotten good reviews on Amazon and a reading forum I am a member of, so when I got the chance to swap for it, I did so. I took it on holiday with me to Mauritius and read it in about 2 days!
From Here To Paternity tells us the story of Will Jackson. Will is absolutely desperate to be a father. The hitch being that he doesn't actually have a girlfriend to be the mother to his child-to-be. This doesn't stop Will creating a nursery in his home, trading in his beloved TVR and deciding on his future child's name. Will goes to pretty desperate measures to find a suitable women, someone mumsy but not dowdy, good looking and fun, not boring. He advertises on Ebay, Friends Reunited, you name Will has thought of it. But will Will ever find his perfect woman?! And will he get to be a dad?
I must say this is one of the funniest books I have read in a long long time. I took this to the beach with me, and it is just the most perfect holiday read. It is easy to read, light-hearted and a completely hilarious romp from start to finish. I got into this straight away, I think the third page had me in stitches! The book was scattered with hilarious bits which made me actually laugh out loud, a rare thing for a book to do to me!
Matt Dunn the author has created a great main character. Will is a likeable guy as you can see that his heart is in the right place. However, you have to sit there and cringe at his gung-ho attitude to getting a woman and becoming a father. He doesn't seem to realise quite what a serious thing becoming a daddy is! In contrast to Will, we have another 2 main characters, Will's best friend Tom and his wife Barbara. They are the parents of twins, yet Will doesn't believe them when they tell him what hard work being a parent is!
What I liked about this was although the main premise of the story is hilarious, and the author's execution of the whole ridiculous plot line is one of the most amusing I have ever read, there is an emotional storyline running through it. Although it is made a jokey kind of idea of Will becoming a dad, there are a lot of places in the book where the author writes with sentimentality about Will's deep desire for a child, and his real and true reasons. There are some particularly touching scenes between Will and his mother, which just make you go "aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh how sweet!". This is what I really enjoyed about this book, the way it could switch from being an hilarious story to one with a deeper meaning easily and seamlessly.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone, man or woman, parent or not because you will just find this hilarious. It is so well written, and a complete pleasure to read, so much so that you will be sad when you reach the end like I was! Luckily for me, I haven't read another of Dunn's books so they have gone straight onto my reading list! Brilliant piece of literature, read it, you won't regret it!
ISBN: 978-1847390677. Published by Pocket Books in October 2007. Paperback contains 400 pages. The book has an RRP of £6.99 but Amazon are selling it for £3.94, or from 10 pence on the marketplace.For more information on the author Matt Dunn and his other novels, see his website: http://www.mattdunn.co.uk.
Thank you for reading, and Merry Christmas!
Will Jackson is a desperate man - desperate to be a dad, that is. Tired of his laddish lifestyle, he's redecorated the spare room, traded in his beloved sports car for a 4x4, and even drawn up a list of his favourite baby names. In fact, there's only one thing left he's got to do - find a female who'll have his child. But where on earth is he going to find a woman who meets his exacting standards? Certainly not in the usual bars and clubs he frequents. But Will has a plan - you can find everything else on the Internet these days - so why not someone to start a family with? From Friends Reunited, through the weird world of online dating, even to auctioning his 'services' on Ebay, Will's journey to paternity is a hilarious romp through the pitfalls of procreation. But when push comes to shove, is Will prepared to trade passion for Pampers? What do men really look for when it comes to starting a family? Can the perfect mother also be the perfect partner, or are there more important things than a nice-fitting pair of genes?