The pride and pitfalls of contemporary fatherhood.
The panic of emergency surgery on a premature baby with a rare intestinal disorder resonates from the riveting first chapter of novelist Magary’s (The Postmortal, 2011, etc.) memoir. The scene captures the author’s knack for electric prose as he dictates the wild, wooly world of parenthood. Magary doesn’t mince words about the many blissfully unencumbered years of marriage before he and his wife had children (“You can live cheaply. You can do drugs. You’re mobile, with no goddamn kids anchoring you to one location. You can even get divorced with a minimum of fuss”), freely partaking of spontaneous beach trips and a particular Oasis concert the writer recalls with an acerbic, fork-tongued wit many readers will either love or hate. Potent anecdotes about their first child are laugh-out-loud funny, but when coupled with the descriptive ordeal of a second child by C-section, Magary’s life becomes awash in baby monitors, an unfortunate DUI, head lice and toddler conflict resolution. A healthy sense of humor and a modern outlook on life is necessary to “get” much of what irks the author about being a parent in a memoir that shines with refreshing realness. For all his potty-mouthed, free-form commentary, Magary demonstrates a noble belief in love, honor and freeze-framing moments with kids who always seem to grow up way too fast. Missteps and foibles aside, the author admits to being happy and grateful as a family man, “even if it isn’t as fun a life as when you were single and drinking shots…in the Giants Stadium parking lot.”
An outspoken dad’s brassy, wise and painfully honest view from the top of the family tree.