19 July 2009

Manhood for Amateurs; Michal Chabon

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son by Michael Chabon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apparently this was written as a sort of response to the furor over Chabon's wife's statement that she loved her husband more than her children. Honestly, I didn't read this book as a response, but an author's intention does not mandate that the reader see things that way.

This is a series of essays, often very funny essays, that cover Chabon's life from early (age just over 5, when he's introduced to his younger brother) through his oldest child's bat mitzvah. At times it seemed as though he was trying too hard to show the warts, which made me wonder what wasn't shown. Why these incidents, and not others? Were these chosen to illustrate his intense love for his wife? How he, too, could be a "bad father"? That he was human, and his wife merely loved a human? I also failed to read this as a "manifesto" for being a man. But perhaps that's because I'm female and... oh, I don't know.

What dropped this from a 4 to a 3 was the occasional pretension in the writing. Example? Talking about pommes frites, not french fries. "Freedom fries" is ironic, pommes frites is pretentious.

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