Tony Parsons’ One for My Baby is a compelling and thoughtful examination of relationships, life, and death. Thirty-four-year-old widower Alfie returns to London to live with his parents and put his life back together after the accidental death of his beloved wife. Alfie is depressed but resigned to his fate. He believes you only get one chance – one soulmate – and now that he’s had his chance, he’s destined to live out the rest of his days lonely and miserable.
From that somewhat depressing premise, Parsons fashions a fascinating emotional study of Alfie’s journey through the grieving process. Never resorting to clichés or pop psychology, Parsons allows Alfie to drift, explore, and observe. Alfie hasn’t given up on living, he’s just not sure what sort of life he will be able to have without his wife.
In the vein of Nick Hornby’s novels, Parsons’ characters are real, engaging, interesting people. It’s easy to get caught up in their lives the same way you get caught up in the lives of your friends. The multi-dimensional and multi-generational relationships are fully realized. Parsons’ tells Alfie’s story in a strong first-person voice, and his attention to detail is exquisite.
One for My Baby is that rare sort of book that draws you into its world completely. When you finish reading it, you wish you could meet Alfie for coffee and find out how his life is going.