People saying "LOL" is often misleading: are they really laughing out loud? But I can honestly say that I couldn't help laughing and had to try and stifle my laughs on my train commute as I read this book. A series of short stories of Magary's adventures in being a father of three children, this book will be instantly familiar to any parent. He doesn't shy away from the honest truth about parenthood: it's wonderful, but those kids can drive you crazy too. Magary manages to give a voice to all of those little thoughts every parent has but do their best to shove back down into the subconscious. He also discusses his relationship with his wife, which like any modern parenting relationship consists of both teamwork and combat: who can fake sleeping long enough so the other has to get up and feed the crying baby?
The stories are the perfect balance between the hilarity of parenting and the touching moments that any parent will recognize. Magary is able to discuss his feelings without venturing into the trite or overly corny cliches that other parenting books often fall into to. If you are a parent that misses the days of childless freedom but still cherish your children, you'll love this book. He perfectly captures the range of emotions, some that you didn't even know existed, that any parent moves through.
One note of warning, however: if you are looking for innocent portrayals of parenthood, this isn't the book for you: Magary often invokes profanity and "off-color" topics to tell his tales. Of course, in my opinion, this is true to actual parenthood. He doesn't go overboard, but he doesn't restrain himself either.
The hilarity is bookended by an incredibly moving portrayal of Magary dealing with his youngest son being in the NICU after he is born prematurely. Magary is a skillful writer than can handle both the hilarity, the love, and the tragedy involved in parenting. As he sums it up near the beginning of the book, "When you start a family, you're signing up for drama. You're signing up for worry. You're signing up for life-and-death. You're signing up for a life that means something more, even if it isn't as fun a life as when toy were single and drinking shots of Fire Water in the Giants Stadium parking lot."
My one quibble is that the book seemed a bit overpriced for being so short. The book reads almost like a series of blog posts. Although I enjoyed every one, I felt like the publisher was asking for a bit more than this book was worth.
I would highly recommend this as a Father's Day present for any younger dad. Also, although it's written from a dad's perspective, I think mom's would also enjoy it, if for no other reason than to see inside the mind of a dad!