Wood’s (101 Things I Want to Say to My Son, Joshua, on Graduating College, 2013) latest is a collection of wisdom, warnings and reminders for young adults and their parents.
The author’s most emphatic piece of advice to his daughter, repeated in at least 13 of the titular 101 points, is: “Boys are pigs.” That it’s written in simple declarative or imperative statements is a tactical choice by the author. The book is, in reality, a look backward. From the back cover, readers glean that the author’s daughter, Meghan, has grown up to be a lawyer and that Wood himself practices law in New York City. Wood could’ve written in pretentious language, but instead, his tone is conversational. He reminds readers that the going-off-to-college period is an important juncture in the parent-child relationship, and it merits consideration. The author often waxes nostalgic, and his counsel sometimes wavers between overly personal and platitudinous. Still, his list should serve as a working, if roundabout, road map for meaningful discussion. Most of the advice falls into a handful of categories: warnings about boys (they’re pigs) and partying, reminders to keep family close and study hard, and pointers on becoming an adult. The beware-of-boys refrain probably comes a little late for an 18-year-old American girl and grows tiresome. There’s also a streak of earnest, somewhat clichéd aphorisms: “Never be satisfied,” but “don’t be greedy”; “Count your blessings,” and “Make excellence your goal.” Moments of unexpected levity brighten the collection; standouts are Wood’s urging his daughter to dance, enjoy music and drink coffee—points 51, 61 and 77, respectively.
Endearingly written and easy to read, parents unsure about how to talk to their college-bound kids may find this slim, conventional book helpful.