This occasionally humorous volume is the latest addition to a rapidly growing selection of books by—and about and for—the post-hipster dad.
Such books practically constitute a new genre, one that mixes memoir, self-help and parenting advice. After having children, men who once prided themselves on their taste in music, ironic detachment, anti-fashion fashion sense and nonconformist conformity are now preoccupied with strollers, playgrounds and play dates. Some of these men are writers, and since writers adhere to the dictum to “write what you know” (while recognizing a potential readership when they see it), they write books like this. This marks a return to familiar territory for Zevin (The Day I Turned Uncool, 2002, etc.), who once wrote for Rolling Stone, does comedy for NPR and describes his career progression as “aging out of New Journalism and easing into Old Journalism” (though he’s a blogger as well). The author doesn’t provide much fresh material about Disneyland, stay-at-home dads, finding a nanny, or the titular Minivan (which he loves, perhaps a little ironically, rather than resents), but he recognizes that parenthood has changed his goals: “Twenty years ago, it was my ambition to win a Pulitzer Prize. Today, it is my ambition to get a reclining chair for the living room.” Though the book is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, at least Zevin acknowledges that he is not nearly as hip as other similar authors think they are.
Not the best of the genre, but nowhere near the worst.