Michael Lewis is one of those authors I have been meaning to read, but I am tired of reading about economics and I have never liked sports. So as I was looking around for something to read, I stumbled across this in the KindleUnlimited collection.
Lewis is giving his account of the changing of the meaning of fatherhood. It is no longer ‘Father Knows Best’ but hopefully is it moving past ‘father as convenient idiot’ as well. There is a huge social shift over the past couple generations. The social science research has shown a huge shift in the number of hours that fathers have increased in house work and child care over the past 50 years.
But still there is a stereotype of the distant and/or idiot Dad. Lewis both feeds into and helps break this stereotype. He is an active Dad that cares for his kids. He also highlights some of the stupid (but real) things that Dads do.
On the positive side, he communicates well the inability of fathers to replace mothers. It just isn’t possible. Men can’t birth children or breast feed. So Dads do what they can, they care for the older children, change diapers, comfort Moms.
But there is also a lot in here that just seems idiotic. Not that any father (or mother for that matter) is perfect. I am not against showing imperfection, or pointing out the problems with the whole game (as he does when he makes fun of the Berkley birthing ideal).
Maybe I am too sensitive because I am a stay at home Dad and trying to both present that model as a normal one (no one thinks stay at home Mom are unusual, so why should stay at home Dads be unusual) and one that allows men to be good parents.
So I like the presentation of the good Dad in the Cheerios commercial, but I am also a bit wary of the pendulum swinging too far and presenting only Super-Dads. All Dads as idiot-Dad is bad, just as all Dads as super-Dad is bad.
So I am mixed on the book. I both enjoyed it and cringed frequently. There was humor, but it wasn’t a comedy sketch like Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat. It was short and sweet (although had a final chapter on getting a vasectomy that seemed thrown in primarily for laughs and was one of the more cringe-worthy chapters.)
So, I am glad I read it, but I was glad it was cheap.
Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook Audiobook is discounted to $3.99 with purchase of Kindle Book, Kindle Edition is part of the Kindle Unlimited selection