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Friday, December 23, 2011

Fathermucker: Parenting is Rewarding?

Joshua Lansky, the SAHD (that's "stay at home dad") protagonist of Greg Olear's fantastically comic meditation on parenthood and marriage, hates a lot of things -- Josh Duhamel, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, the Kardashians, 99 percent of Facebook status updates. But he does love his children, even though they drive him practically batty. And, thus we have a novel. The conflict between Josh's striving to be a good parent and his sarcastic cynicism (he still hasn't quite given up the ghost on being "cool") are what make Fathermucker such an awesome read.

This novel takes place over the course of one particularly hectic day. While Josh's wife is away for what is ostensibly a week-long business trip, Josh has to hold down the fort with his two high-maintenance little whipper-snappers, three-year-old Maude and four-year-old Roland. An early-morning playdate yields a potentially life-changing secret: Another mother tells Josh she suspects his wife is cheating on him.

The rest of the novel chronicles Josh's day. Josh is quite the contemplative chap, but hilariously so. And so we get his meditations on everything from oral sex to rock and roll to why the hell he can't seem to write another screenplay -- he'd sold the option for one five years ago, but has been basically blocked ever since. We watch as Josh takes Roland on a fieldtrip, deals with his idiotic babysitter and even more idiotic pest control guy, tries to score an interview for a freelance article with the frontman for a popular 90s punk band whose kid happens to be in Roland's class, and all the while wonders if his wife of 10 years is, indeed, having an affair. 

I'm not a parent, but I loved this novel. It's a quick, easy read (I read it in two days) that'll have you alternating between giggles, *snorts* and gut-wrenchingedness -- Josh's wife isn't really cheating on him, is she? IS SHE? Sometimes Josh is sure she is, sometimes he's positive she's not. But most of the time, he literally doesn't have time to think about it as he's trying desperately to shepherd the kids to the next thing. At any rate, this book is high quality. Definitely check it out!

8 comments:

  1. I've had this one hanging around, meaning to get to it. I'm going to have to find it as I really want to read it now! Alternating between snorts and gut wrenching. That's something I can get on board with!

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  2. Added to my wish-list. Haven't heard of it before- thanks!

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  3. About time the SAHDs get some love. Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out.

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I thought it was a lot of fun.

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  5. OOOOHHHH! Sounds like a book to look out for in my travels. A must read in the New Year for me then. :D

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  6. Thanks for the review, looks like I might have to put it on the list. Don't know how this one slipped under my radar but based on your review it looks like it's worth a read.

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  7. I started this yesterday and am really liking it.

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  8. So glad someone read and reviewed this book, and found it as good as I hoped it would be. Just got word that my local public library is going to put in a purchase request for it; looking forward to being first in line to check it out!

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