Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book Review - Dadditude

"When Phil Lerman, about to turn 50, quits his job as a producer at "America's Most Wanted," one of the longest-running (and most macho) TV shows ever, he believes that a lifetime of management experience - controlling a wild pack of roving producers, lunching with the FBI, and locating hundreds of dangerous fugitives - has given him the tools to control one small boy with a Beatles haircut. Not so much."

I was sent the book Dadditude by Philip Lerman, to read and review. I'd read an excerpt from the book on his website and immediately realized two things. First, that discovering a dad's take on things should be very interesting, and also that along with being a father and a former television producer, Philip Lerman is a very funny guy. I was looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

And I have to say, that it did not disappoint. The book is told in the first person and chronicles the author and his wife's attempts first to conceive their son Max as a couple in their 40's struggling with infertility, and then how they managed through pregnancy, Max's infanthood and early years.

Ok, now you may be asking why a 'mom' blog is reviewing a book written about and for dads. Well, not only were there were so many parts of this book that I could relate to, but hearing it all from the 'other' point of view was eye-opening as well. From the first days of the birth of your child, when you have no clue what you're doing, to worrying about their developmental milestones, preschool, and how to successfully ditch the pacifier - these are all things that both moms and dads deal with and can understand.

I picked two passages from the book to share with you. Narrowing it down to two was hard, and I ended up with two from the same page actually. I shortened it up a bit (sorry!) or you'd be reading half the book in this post, and I think that kinda wasn't the intent of asking me to review it... :)

We get home, and I make Max's lunch, and try to actually read the newspaper while he's eating. This is interrupted by a flying piece of macaroni and cheese, which lands in my lap....
So this is how my days go, now. I used to run a national television program. When people broke out of jail anywhere in the country, or shot a cop, or kidnapped a child, the call would immediately go out to someone on my staff, and they'd run into my office, and we'd put together a plan for righting whatever wrong had taken place...
Now, I'm bargaining: If you throw another piece of macaroni and cheese, I will take away your glowing light sticks. There. Now, if you eat four bites, you can have one light stick back.
That's how my days go now.
But I will tell you this.
My job at America's Most Wanted? That was hard, and because it was hard, and the results were tangible, it was satisfying. About as satisfying as a job can get.
But getting a four-year-old to stop throwing food, and sit and eat quietly?
That's a minor miracle...

There are two reasons, I think, that dads experience this more deeply than moms, especially older dads. The going wisdom out here in parent land, of course, is that mothers are the ones who bond most deeply with their children, that after birth and breast-feeding, there's no way you can compete - what's teaching a guy to throw a curve ball, after all, compared to I Created You Whole From Inside Me And Gave You Complete Sustenance From My Own Body Both In The Year Before You Were Born And The Year After? Throw in about a year of "I want my mommy!" and guys are naturally prone to accept their supposed second-class status.
But let me tell you something.
We dads, we trudging off to work dads, we coming home tired dads, we not even there until bedtime dads, we missed the first day of school because of a business meeting in Phoenix dads, we pay the rent and fix the faucet dads, we watch the football game at home instead of at the bar with the boys dads, we cook the dinner when she's pregnant or didn't anyone notice dads, we are the patient ones. We are the silently loving ones. We are the giving ones.
The moms, well they gave at the office, in the cosmic sense. By the time the kid is a day old, let's face it, between the nine months of pregnancy and the nightmare of childbirth, they've given about all a person has to give to gain eternal devotion.
If I could come up with anything that might make it a bit difficult to read the book, it would be that the author has a tendency to ramble, to change direction mid-stream a bit and well, to get sidetracked as he's trying to get to a point. But you can tell from the very beginning that this has to be the way that he talks in 'real life' - and that's what makes this book really such a fun read. It's like you're sitting down with coffee and chatting about life - the book is more of a conversation than a speech, albeit a one-sided one. And by the time he does get to the point that he was trying to make from the beginning - you really understand where he's coming from and why he feels the way that he does.

I thought about giving away my copy of the book, as I did after my last review. But I really would like Ron to read this book, so I'm going to hang onto it, at least for now. But I would definitely recommend Dadditude to anyone who's looking for a fun and humorous read! :)

And yes, to be honest here, I swiped the image at the top of the post from the Dadditude website... I couldn't find a good one anywhere else, so hopefully nobody will mind...

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2 wonderful people said...:

~Amber~ said...

I HAVE to get that book for Andrew!! It sounds awesome!

Anonymous said...

Sound like a good one. I need to read some funny books, the ones I have been reading lately are so depressing! I will put it on my list.