I enjoyed the humor in this book, but I'm sure the sister who recommended it enjoyed it even more. Like Gaffigan, she really was one of those parents who actually pulled the car over to talk to her kids. I was with her once. She's a fantastic mother with a great sense of humor, and I can see why any parent who enjoys their kids would appreciate this book. It's evident that Gaffigan loves his wife and kids. He hates to be away from them when he's on the road, so he takes them with him on a tour bus, even renting hotel rooms for two nights so the kids can use the pool, while sleeping in the bus at night.
The humor, though, comes from Gaffigan's views of parenting and family life. He talks about how ill-equipped and overwhelmed he is as a parent, while admiring his wife's natural ability as a mother. He sees himself as the Vice President of the family, with no skills or authority.
Not being a parent, some of my favorite chapters actually had little to do with parenting. Both sides of my family had reunions during the holidays and summers, so I loved his chapter, "My Other Family", and the talk about cousins. I have something like forty first cousins on my mother's side, and I'm just about in the middle. So, having older cousins, it was fun to read, "Little kids love their cousins. Cousins are like celebrities for little kids. If little kids had a People magazine, cousins would be on the cover."
But, my favorite chapter had to be "A Critical Analysis of Children's Literature". Anyone familiar with children's picture books, as a parent who read them a zillion times, or a teacher or librarian familiar with them, will love Jim Gaffigan's summary of familiar titles. I've read every book he analyzes, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, Caps for Sale. I may never read them again without thinking of Jim Gaffigan.
Looking for an evening of light family humor? You might just want to try Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat. And, since my sister was laughing hysterically and made me watch his Hot Pockets video, I'll share that with anyone who wants to watch the routine that made him famous.
Jim Gaffigan's website is www.jimgaffigan.com
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. Crown. 2013. ISBN 9780385349055 (hardcover), 274p.
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