A father shares stories of his childhood and those of his two sons.
McGlynn (A Door in the Ocean, 2012, etc.) was not expecting to become a father when he did. When he and his wife found out their first child was on the way, he gulped nervously and moved into the role with a mixture of trepidation and elation. The author gathers tales of his two young sons and of his own childhood into an entertaining, humorous, and enlightening series of essays on fatherhood. Readers learn of his longing for his father, who divorced his mother and moved away when the author was 12. Suddenly, his father’s physical presence was reduced to a few weeks during the year, so McGlynn learned snippets of wisdom on growing into adulthood over the telephone, a touching memory of a pre-digital era. The author also shares moments of pride: watching his son at his first swim meet, supporting him at basketball games, and seeing him use the author’s old skateboard. McGlynn doesn’t ignore his struggles with his children: trying to discipline them when they used profanity, told their classmates that Santa was dead, or would not go to sleep at night. Throughout, the author’s love for his children is palpable, as is his feeling of achievement at having done the best that he could regardless of the situation. He and his wife have favored a smaller home in order to have more money for travel, giving up material goods for the chance to create lasting memories with their children, and he hopes they appreciate that approach as they grow into adults and have their own children. Overall, the book is neither shallow nor profound but a pleasing blend of humor and humility that shows what it means to be a father in America today.
A father tells timeless, funny, and honest stories of raising boys.