One for my Baby by Tony Parsons

Monday 4 June 2007
by  Alice R
popularity : 2%

Set in the streets, tea rooms and Chinatown of London, ’One for my Baby’ shifts from the present life in England of Alfie Budd, a young English teacher to his unforgettable past in Hong Kong. Having left the love of his life, in China, Alfie believes you only get one chance, one soulmate, and that he will now have to lead a lonely and miserable life. As he gradually sees the world changing and collapsing around him, Alfie takes comfort in pointless flings and Tai Chi lessons.

From that somewhat depressing premise, Parsons carves a fascinating emotional study of Alfie’s journey through the grieving process. Never resorting to clichés or psychology, Parsons allows Alfie to drift, explore, and observe. Alfie hasn’t given up on living, he is simply uncertain and unconfident of the new life style he will have to adapt to without his perfect and beloved wife.

Parson has the art of telling Alfie’s story in a strong first-person voice, and his attention to detail is exquisite. Alfie’s confessions and his ability to use humour give the impression that you are his friend listening closely to all his recollections, observations and sorrow, which explains the reader’s captivation for the book.

The combination of sharp observations, self-deprecating humour and friendly style create warmth, kindness and affection to the reader who inevitably learns a lesson about love, sex, family and friendship.