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.
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"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