This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things by Clint Edwards

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

PARENTING. MARRIAGE. MADNESS.
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Love, marriage, and parenthood are messy. This comic memoir celebrates the joys that come with having your life turned upside down.

Daddy-blogger Edwards (Love & Profanity, 2015) grew up mostly without a father, so (as he explains on his website) he has no idea what he’s doing raising the son and two daughters he has with his loving and ever patient wife, Mel. The truth, of course, is that no parent knows what he or she is doing—not even Mel—and that’s part of the fun as well as the horror. The short chapters, many inspired by Edwards’ blog posts, either recount specific stories from the front lines (“The Day We Caught Our Kids Looking At Their Butt Holes,” “She Sent Me to the Store for Feminine Hygiene Products”) or take the form of lists—numbered observations, warnings, or words of wisdom (“5 things I Never Should Have Said To My Pregnant Wife,” “10 Contradictions That Make Me Want to Run From My Minivan And Into The Woods”). Edwards is invariably funny, wry, and self-deprecating. Parenting and marriage, as he describes them, are humbling, in both the worst (lots of poop and vomit) and best (personal growth) ways. The chapter that best illustrates this is the one titled “I Thought My Wife Was Crazy. Turns Out She Was Pregnant,” which begins somewhat like a vaguely snide stand-up routine about hormones but evolves into a more nuanced and thoughtful place: “It’s only when I think back on these moments that I realize something had taken over my body, also.” It’s not the funniest chapter in the book—though it is funny—but it’s where its emotional core lies. Like parenting itself, the book isn’t flawless—its chronology is confusing, moving back in time through three main sections titled “Toddler and Grade School Years,” “Babies,” and “Marriage” and skipping around considerably within each section. It’s also poorly copy edited, speckled, for instance, with malapropisms that seem like autocorrect malfunctions—glutinous instead of gluttonous, patent for patient, swap for swab. And although it’s handled affectionately (and accurately), some may not appreciate all the potty humor and profanity. But overall, this is an entertaining, open-hearted, and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious take on family life from the perspective of a hands-on dad and husband.

Full of laughs and heart.

Pub Date: July 15th, 2015
Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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