First let me say thatI picked this book up on accident. Having skimmed over a review for Buzz Bissinger’s (‘Friday Night Lights’) book titled ‘Father’s Day’. I confused him with Michael Lewis (author of ‘The Blind Side’) What sent me looking for Bissinger’s book, was the implication that it was deep, and real- about a father and his mentally challenged son on a road trip. (Note: I’ve since discovered Bissinger’s book got a negative review from a Dallas critic, over which he went ballistic and declared a Twitter war on the entire city of Dallas- so obviously- I sensed where the excitement was…)
Thinking this was the book I had in my hand, I was quickly confused. Though Lewis’s book started out as ‘ok, people. It’s time we uncovered some of bullshitting we’re doing about parenthood’ ( I’m in-) it very quickly turned into a thinly veiled ‘look at this fabulous life I’m living as I globe trot to Paris and tell you how fascinating my kids are’. Which-Wait.What? On the one hand, the proposition: let’s be honest. I like that. But then he tells the super-cutsie story of his youngest daughter, who fights off a group of ‘bossy’ boys (both males, and other people’s kids, which means they are incorrigible, of coarse! Only his children shine) in the hotel pool at a swanky resort in Bermuda by swearing at them. I can see the ‘Watch Out! We’ve Got A Badass Over Here’ meme as the story progresses, Dad bursting with pride at his little firecracker. Oh it’s terrible that she’s cussing (wink! wink!) – but just look at the ‘sassy’ fruit of my loins! (And by the way: I have a REAL problem believing that the mother of one of these boys actually yells out to her own son ‘Did YOU teach her those words?’….um, yeah- coz everyone’s looking out for the interest of your kid, Mr. Lewis. And we all feel so bad about our less than stellar parenting skills, and thus: we owe you public apologies. Sorry the male children disturbed the pink-princess moments your daughters were having in the hotel pool,(by getting in to said pool) but I’m pretty sure they paid to be here as well, and even though it’s your world, and we’re just window dressing, please allow us our vacation? Please?
He also makes digs at the women around the pool and what they’re reading: Danielle Steele, John Grisham! On the bright side, from what I’ve read of his book so far, there’s a good chance they will be reading ‘Home Game’ this time next year….(I’ll say here: I have never understood anyone over the age of 16 reading – or buying into Danielle Steele, but she’s all about creating fantasy worlds, the likes of which I’m reading about now. Mr. Lewis is, in fact, a well-known author of books -NY Times Bestseller!- and screenplays:(The Blind Side!), is a great father, and has lived abroad, in Paris!- which sounds exactly like a Danielle Steele character! Now we just need to add some Lifetime movie dilemma- which will be overcome in the end, and wala: Ms. Steele’s next book!)
Even the cover of this book irks me. In it, Mr. Lewis is seated with his young child (who is naturally, emulating him! Holding a cup of -well-it can’t be coffee, that would kill a baby these days-so it’s probably really high-end -no sugar (‘poison’) added juice from Whole Foods or a french farm stand. Or water. Special Baby Water. His wedding ring is prominently displayed (back off, Ladies!) his sleeve’s rolled up (button down shirt gone casual that says: I’m smart, but rakish!) He’s perfectly disheveled in an ‘I was up late with my kid, and everythings just so chaotic in the world of children, so I can’t iron my shirt, but I’m willing to do my part, even though I’m a man. Aw, shucks now,no need to pat me on the back, I’m glad to do it! Really- don’t make a fuss!’ Then, to hit it out of the park, the photo is in black and white, and taken by his loving wife! This is a perfect couple and they’ve got it down! (The back cover is equally impressive: There stands Father, holding said baby, door flung open, as they both look out onto majestic fields, and valleys, and- is that a dale? Is this France? Just acres and acres of Hidden Valley purity. No tacky modern day references here- no cars, no Taco Bells, no neighbors, no tv’s, no Dora, no plastic toys that need batteries- like might be found in your house. ‘We are raising our child in paradise, so please try not to be jealous! Even though we absolutely want you to be, and thus, this book! We really feel for those of you stuck back in tacky America, with your rednecks and your Wal-Marts,and your white sugar and bad spelling! The Lewis’s have gone all Johnny Depp on our asses and they need for us to know it!) Bam!
I’d like to tell you what happens next, but I’m still so irritated by the tale of the dinner party at the beginning of the book, where Mr. Lewis and his wife mull over (out loud) what spot on the globe they should take off to- so many choices, so much money! Making sure that everyone knows their approximate net worth and options, transparently disguised as a ‘dilemma’ for dinner conversation purposes. I can only imagine the covert eye rolls and ‘God, they’re insufferable!’ comments after said gathering. I’ve been to these dinner parties (very recently in fact) and I’m fully convinced that the crazy scenarios that run through my head at such functions could make Pulp Fiction/Reservoir Dogs/Scarface type violence look like a swim lesson in the baby pool- which is exactly where the author is attempting to take me now. And like a cat on a leash, I’m refusing to go, claws out, leaned back, and dug-in! -so no matter how hard he drags me across the floor-, I’m not moving! Nor am I continuing to read this book. Sorry. I tried.
In the interest of fairness- I suppose if you have kids under five and believe in ‘Calgon-take-me-away rescues’ from your pedestrian (and very American) child raising career, you might care about this book,and – who knows? possibly even enjoy it. Let me know how it ends. My guess is ‘perfectly’…..