Then I kept seeing covers of his books in bookstores — they’re intriguing, very cool.
If you read nothing else in this post, read this: This book is great! I highly recommend it anyone looking to get a little more of their head around manhood in the past, fatherhood in the present, and making better choices in the future.
This book is a collection of essays on manhood, fatherhood, legos, comic books, etc… They’re all separate, readable on their own, but contribute to what I think is an informed, honest, truthful, and good picture of where us dads find ourselves these days.He recalls a lot about his upbringing, how things have changed since then, what’s good/bad about that, how he addresses that stuff with his own kids.
Don’t expect this to be a how-to. Chabon’s style in Manhood For Amateurs is kind of gritty and definitely quirky and smart. He steeps you in these little moments, like when your kid gives you their precious piece of art… He paints these small, relatable moments, comes clean with how his wife and him handle these situations, and then sort of sucker-punches you with the meaning, the bigger picture, in these moments. Like the following:
“The truth is that in every way, I am squandering the treasure of my life. It’s not that I don’t take enough pictures, though I don’t, or that I don’t keep a diary, though iCal and my monthly Visa bill are the closest I come to a thoughtful prose record of events. Every day is like a kid’s drawing, offered to you with a strange mixture of ceremoniousness and offhand disregard, yours for the keeping. Some of the days are rich and complicated, others inscrutable, others little more than a stray gray mark on a ragged page. Some you manage to hang on to, though your reasons for doing so are often hard to fathom. But most of them you just ball up and throw away.”
The Bottom Line
Here’s the deal: if you like this blog, you’re going to like this book. It’s smart, raw, honest, insightful, and definitely hilarious. You’ll chuckle, giggle, chortle, and have several of these, “goddam I love my family” kind of moments.
But Wait, There’s More!
Chabon’s wife, Ayelet Waldman, is also a writer, and she’s got a book out that sounds pretty damn good for the mom side of the equation: Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace.
Also, I just read Chabon’s book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay… of course on audiobook. It’s an awesome book! Fast, funny, fantastical, with plenty of excellently crafted nuggets of wisdom. So if you want to go more of a fiction route, I highly recommend this one.
So, what are you guys reading? Anything to recommend?