Fathers Discover Fatherhood Again

Ever since men first discovered fatherhood (when was that, the Sixties?), they keep on discovering it. Now “cool guys” have discovered it:

Alternadad, by Neal Pollack (Pantheon)

Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Real Life, by Jim Lindberg (Collins)

“No Rules, Just Real Life”? Hey, this parenting manual has attitude — just like me! Awesome!

Of course, cool guys are a little bit behind the curve here. The last few years have seen an explosion of fathering books for “regular Joes.” (Hey, if you can reduce parenting to tools and a checklist, even I can handle it! Awesome! ) Some of them feature retro covers and design, which keeps us from feeling like lamers who have to read how-to manuals. (Some of us prefer “no rules.”)

Or maybe the ironic, retro styling blends in well with the protective layer of irony some of us have grown prior to procreating. Ironically, these ironic books often feature men confessing weepy feelings of love for their offspring.

Anyway, consider this small selection of recent and somewhat recent titles:

Crouching Father, Hidden Toddler: A Zen Guide for New Dads, by C. W. Nevius (Chronicle)

Mack Daddy: Mastering Fatherhood without Losing Your Style, Your Cool, or Your Mind, by Larry Bleidner (Citadel)

Pop Culture: The Sane Man’s Guide to the Insane World of New Fatherhood, by Christopher Healy (Penguin)

The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers, by Scott MacTavish (Little, Brown)

Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden (Simon & Schuster)

The Guy’s Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the First Year of Fatherhood, by Michael R. Crider (Da Capo)

Daddy Needs a Drink: An Irreverent Look at Parenting from a Dad Who Truly Loves His Kids–Even When They’re Driving Him Nuts, by Robert Wilder (Delta)

Keeping the Baby Alive till Your Wife Gets Home, by Walter Roark (Clearing Skies)

If I sound dismissive, it could be simple envy at work. No, I’m not envious that all these dads are in touch with their new role in life – I’m envious that they had the foresight to take notes. Still, it’s never too late to start, and I’m currently at work on my own cheekily irreverent take on the seriously funny business of dads keeping it real — even when all they really want to do is run away from home.

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix.

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