Hardly groundbreaking comedy material, but the book will appeal to Gaffigan’s fans. Others can stick to his usually funny...


Comedian Gaffigan delivers zany stories from the front lines of urban parenting.

Living in a two-bedroom New York City apartment with five kids and an amazingly “fertile” wife, frumpy funnyman Gaffigan may have found, in a sense, the perfect domestic situation for a comedian trolling for new material. His chaotic family life serves as the basis for this nonfiction debut, and readers can assume that he’ll reap an endless supply of comedic material from this situation for years to come. Branching out from his usual wheelhouse jokes involving subjects like bacon or McDonald’s hamburgers, the author’s G-rated sense of humor expands into new parental/responsible adult territory. Topics include his wife’s obvious love of pregnancy, the cringe-worthy question of circumcision, the demented universe of children’s literature and the challenging adventures of raising kids in the city. He gets much mileage out of the sort of exaggerated mock cruelty that comedian Louis C.K. revels in, only Gaffigan is a bit less mean-spirited. His prose style resembles that of most comedians who write books: The sentences are simple, short and punchy, with much the same rhythms of delivery as their stand-up counterparts. But as the book progresses, the rapid-fire assault of jokes and punch lines can seem strained, and Gaffigan sometimes misses his targets and pulls up lame, much like a heavyweight boxer who comes out of his corner scoring points early but punches himself out halfway through the fight. Later in the book, when he compares a 3-year-old with insomnia to a heroin addict going through withdrawal, you know you’re beginning to witness a once-effective formula running itself into the ground.

Hardly groundbreaking comedy material, but the book will appeal to Gaffigan’s fans. Others can stick to his usually funny Twitter feed.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-34905-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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