An anecdotal look at fatherhood from the author of the bestselling 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter (2001) and A Dog’s Purpose (2010).
Cameron (Repo Madness, 2016, etc.) begins his new memoir with a well-timed one-liner: “I’ll never forget the day my first child was born, when the nurse came up to me, smiling, and ever-so-gently handed me a small, warm bundle of hospital bills.” From there, the book delivers a steady stream of quips and funny, longer vignettes revolving around the joys, shocks, expenses, and unexpected discoveries that come with having small children. They also wryly highlight the author’s awareness of his own age (“I’m not old enough to be a grandfather yet!” he laments. “I’m still saving money for my midlife crisis!”) and his ongoing discovery of a kid’s capacity for devious invention. Readers of Dave Barry will be familiar with the exact register of Cameron’s hapless self-deprecation, and readers of David Sedaris will recognize that author’s formula of ending each chapter with a funny paragraph, each paragraph with a funny sentence, and each sentence with a funny word. There are no profundities about parenting here, nor will any sensible reader expect them. Rather, this is a compendium of park-and–play-date quips stitched together into a coherent narrative. Along the way, the author offers always-amusing asides on an array of perennial dad topics, including errand-running, job-talk, and, of course, lawn care. And naturally, he spares some prose for that bête noir of suburbia, the squirrel: “Here’s something they should teach you in Special Forces,” he writes. “If you fire a squirt gun straight up at a squirrel who is trying to concuss you, most of the water will cascade back on your face.” It’s all enjoyable, lightweight riffing that may make new dads feel a bit less alone.
A consistently funny look at the changes that a man experiences when he grows up, has a child, and moves to the suburbs.