Daddy Needs a Drink: An Irreverent Look at Parenting from a Dad Who Truly Loves His Kids-- Even When They're Driving Him Nuts Paperback – May 1 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Though he entering an already crowded field of pithy family essayists, Wilder's first book still resonates as an idiosyncratic charmer, avoiding the easy jokes for more carefully calculated wit. The familiar perils of parenthood-diaper changing, sleepless nights, inappropriate early words-are enumerated with an easygoing prose style that is consistently clever without ever trying too hard. Wilder is at his best when he ventures slightly farther afield from the standard set-pieces of the genre, such as in the show-stopping piece "Blood on the Tracks," in which he attends a music class for his son taught by a psychotic woman named Judith. Wilder perfectly conveys the nightmarish situation, recalling with escalating anxiety the rhyming couplets in which the teacher sings all of her instructions ("Repeating notes in such location / Is called proper audiation").. Unfortunately, the collection of 33 essays can get repetitive, and also suffers from the disjointed chronology that sometimes plagues works such as these. Nevertheless, Wilder deserves praise for his humor-especially his deadpan and appropriately dispatched profanity-as well as for the well rendered portraits of his worrying wife Lala and his two children.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Wilder's collection is spiced with sharp-eyed but never cruel observations of kids' befuddling behavior and hilarious scatology…. His love for his family comes through without ever seeming cloying…. Capture[s] the absurdity and joy to be found in the most important job a man can do."—Los Angeles Times
“Robert Wilder’s hilarious and boldly candid essays about the realities of parenting go down like gin and tonic on a hot summer afternoon.”—People
"More profane, more ironic and at times more touching than a whole stack of well-meaning child-rearing manuals....Even if your husband or father or brother isn't much of a reader, Daddy Needs a Drink would be sure to make him laugh."—Cleveland Plain Dealer
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More than just "cute kid stories," Wilder explores the ways teaching his children right from wrong can often be unsettling for other adults, such as when his son decides to say the word "pussy" at many an inopportune time (not to mention "hipple") or teaching him about dwarfs ("dwarps" in London-speak). He explores his son's addiction to his nuzzies (blanket lint) and their attempts to wean him off of them.
Wilder also has an eye for the hypocrisy of other parents and teachers, pointing out their excesses and eccentricities. On the beach, he describes sitting near "High-Maintenance Mom" while he makes sand mermaids for his kids. When High-Maintenance Mom's daughter comes over to see what the fuss is about, Wilder writes: "The little girl left her mom and wandered over to what must have seemed like more fun than an outdoor office where your boss ignores you." No matter how much he may roll his eyes at certain parenting conventions, Wilder will never be the kind of dad who blatantly ignores his kids.
And, while humorous, Wilder exhibits a vulnerability that's refreshingly honest, most notably when he shares a crying bout upon observing his daughter on the playground. He's a dad who's willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, wearing a filthy Frosty the Snowman outfit, buying outrageous amounts of school supplies, and generally humoring his kids without spoiling them. His essays about his own father, whose love for Sam's Club knows no bounds, show their own deep connection.
Wilder's greatest gift is in making readers laugh, but never at the expense of anyone else. There are stories that his kids will likely one day laugh right along with, and he includes himself in the punchlines. He touches on telephone etiquette for kids, how to deal with his children's voluminous output of artwork, and balancing the needs and wants of two adults and two kids harmoniously, while also giving a glimpse into the rest of his family and his friends' adventures in parenting (where the terrible twos extend onward well past that famous age). This is well worth reading, whether you have (or even like) kids or not, and while his love and awe for his kids is clear from every page, Wilder manages to be hilarious and tender, but never sappy. Wilder doesn't claim to have all the answers, and learns along the way, painting fatherhood as an ongoing journey of learning, growing, and being changed by his role as a parent, and his humorous writing is all the better for this lack of a master plan or know-it-all advice. I will be giving this book to all the new dads I know.
Trust me people, its HILARIOUS! You won't want it to end :)
In short, a great read and one I'm passing along to people of all stripes - men, women, those who parent, those who have been parented.
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