Heartfelt, funny reflections on parenting and family life from a Jewish father.
Harris (Fifty Shades of Schwarz, 2013) treats readers to a book of tales that feels like sitting at a family dinner in his home. The anecdotes follow his life, from meeting his wife to the present day, covering plenty of ground in between. They have three children, two of whom were adopted from Latin America, and the middle son is gay—“just your average American family,” Harris says. The way in which their two adopted children came to join their family is lovingly and humorously detailed, as Harris delves into the experience of traveling to a foreign country, with its slow bureaucracy, in hopes of bringing home a new child. There’s the all-night screaming from his second son and the frustrating but necessary path through the court systems to speed up the adoption. Harris has led an interesting life, traveling internationally after high school and eventually making a career in the finance industry as a very young married man, but throughout the book, it’s obvious his love for his family is paramount; in fact, his family devotion has occasionally cost him career advancement. “Having reached my forties,” he says, “I wasn’t willing to advance my career by working the kind of long hours chained to a desk the way I had twenty years earlier, before I had kids, when the sacrifice seemed worth it.” Elsewhere, he amusingly conveys the titular anecdote and how Harris’ elder son convinced the family to embrace vegetarianism. Harris isn’t shy about making his opinions known or sharing philosophies and tactics that have worked for him as a father, making the book valuable beyond entertainment. The relevance of Judaism to parenting, family life and moral conduct is a recurring theme in the work, too, and Harris seems uniquely qualified to speak of a modern understanding of Judaism, as a father to children of three races and varying sexualities.
A charming, moral work about family life in modern America.