My Teenage Son's Goal Is to Make Me Feel 3,500 Years Old and Other Thoughts Hardcover – 1 Mar 2001
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The gags are highly concentrated into Rob's difficulties with getting out of bed in the morning, loud music (that's the title reference), driving, vacations, ski trips, projects, science fair preparations, help with school work, becoming interested in girls, toys, video games, television, sneakers, clothes, and expenses. Rather than being grouped in some logical order, they just sort of show up randomly. To me, much of the humor depends on being Dave Barry, being there, or seeing an image of the situation. Cartoons would have helped. As it was, I found the book light, but never really did start to laugh.
Rob comes across as a normal, healthy young man making fine progress in growing up. Most would take delight in having such a son.
I think the humor would have been improved if it had been aimed more powerfully at Mr. Barry. He does point out his own limitations (with school work, in skiing down slopes, and in keeping up with the newest trends), but the put-downs are mostly aimed at Rob. As such, I often found them to sound like whining rather than humor. For example, the reason that adults have sexual relations not very often is because children discover they need help with projects after 11:00 at night. Okay, that may have happened once in a while . . . but I think that the point would have been funnier if it focused on the way that some teachers now assign homework projects that can only be done by having the student and two parents work for hours. There are often funny things that happen in those projects that could have provided humor.
The other direction Mr. Barry could have gone in would have required Rodney Dangerfield style one-liners. Mr. Barry's style lends itself to that approach, but his writing isn't quite terse enough to pull it off.
If you are frustrated with your son, this book can do you some good by helping you realize that what's going on is normal. If you are looking for a good humor book, I'd look elsewhere.
In the meantime, you can have a few laughs if you think about how your father would have described you when you were a teenager (using humorous concepts). That perspective may help you be more understanding with your teenager.
Enjoy being a parent!
Don't waste your money. Buy a real Dave Barry book.