Childish Things begins with a funeral at which Gregor McLeod, a retired schoolmaster aged seventy-two, is mourning the death of his wife, Kate. It soon becomes evident, however, that McLeod has been something of a womanizer and, despite his very recent (and heartfelt) bereavement, is being pursued by an assortment of attractive women.
Satirical yet compassionate, Jenkins explores McLeod's adventures with these women both at home and abroad, specifically in California, where he has an affair with an elderly former Hollywood star and comes to terms with his American dream.
The result is a tremendously compelling comic novel that retains all the sharpness, wit, and pace that is customary from Jenkins, combined with a mellow, wry wisdom. His central theme -- do we ever outgrow "childish things"? -- is explored with captivating insight and delicious humor.