Without a job, is Dan a man? His put-upon wife Jackie doesn't think
so. He's been playing solitaire until all hours and oversleeping,
just because his London dot-com company went belly-up . . . and,
speaking of bellies, Dan doesn't look so good in that tattered old
T-shirt he oversleeps in. Yet Dan Porter was once a big success: a
financial market maker in the City who moved into the tech sector
only months before the boom went bust. And then came 9/11. At least
he's not the only guy out of work. His friend Nick Jessop has
turned into a glorified kangaroo, carrying his baby with him
wherever he goes and hoping to make a million reinventing a baby
car-seat. Dan's investments have plummeted, and Jackie's the
breadwinner now, feeling the strain of keeping two daughters in
expensive schools, though their son, Josh, has dropped out of
Manchester University to sleep all day, too, then frequent
headbanger clubs at night. Gosh, muses Dan. Is everything his
fault? Jackie thinks so. Unbeknownst to Dan, she's being seduced by
a suave accountant. Will Jackie leave Dan for Steve? Back to that
in about six months as Dan heads to Scotland to meet plucky Kate,
CEO of a prawn-fishing enterprise. Even though Kate's husband has
been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she soldiers on, supplying
tons of prawns to the UK and Europe. And she's handy with a needle,
too: the comfy playclothes she whipped up for her children has
morphed into a successful fashion line that, however, isn't widely
distributed. Will Dan agree to market the line? Yup! Bitchy Jackie
accuses him of infidelity: Is he the father of yet another woman's
baby, an American? No-but he's supporting her and her child because
she wasn't married to his friend, who died in the World Trade
Center, and so isn't eligible for 9/11 compensation. Jackie leaves
him anyway. Contrived, unfocused, self-indulgent. The son of
Rosamund has brought us two other tedious contemporary soapers
(Starting Over, 2002, etc.). (Kirkus Reviews)
Life has not turned out the way that Dan Porter had planned. He
thought that when he married Jackie twenty-five years before, he
would be providing for her and their family until he could retire
to a small house on the Devon coast and sit with a smug smile on
his face, knowing that he had not only done his bit to perpetuate
the human race, but had achieved it with distinction. But life
doesn't always turn out the way you imagine it will. Firstly,
Jackie's little job turned into a high-powered executive position
with a top fashion house which required most of her time and
attention, leaving only a sliver of a moment for her parenting and
home-making duties. Secondly, that he would suffer an
out-of-character brainstorm, leave his safe job and start up a
business on his own - but customers had not come rushing to his
door. Dan becomes a house husband - and most of his time is spent
studying his empty email inbox. Approaching fifty and having read a
magazine article, he thinks of a new brainwave - to upsticks from
London, buy a croft in Scotland and take over a mail order business
with Jackie. The family are not amused...
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