It's been years -- almost decades since I last read a book by a stand-up comedian. I used to love them -- you get their act, usually expanded -- if not, at least more of it then you got to see on TV in Idaho. If you were familiar enough with the comedian, it was almost automatic to hear their voice in your head as you read. Always liked them, just ran out of time/money.
But I've been feeling the pull towards Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat for awhile now, so when Blogging for Books offered me a copy, I jumped on it. Which was a good move on my part -- this is a funny book.
Not a a surprise, I realize. Still, it is good to see that he can transfer his humor to the page (you can never be sure). A good deal of the material -- but not all -- is adapted from his stand-up, and that's funny enough. But the rest is just as good -- if not better, because it's fresher and in a different medium, so he can do other kinds of humor. I laughed out loud more than a few times, and had to resist reading the entire thing to whoever happened to be near-by.
But frequently, Gaffigan sets the jokes aside to talk about being a parent, the choices that women and men make to do that -- how so many don't understand why people do that. He defends the choices his faily made to have kids, to have as many as they have, and to have home births. He doesn't stop joking as he does this, but they do take a back seat to what he's talking about though (while serving as the proverbial spoonful of sugar to help). These points are where the book is the strongest, he doesn't attack those who disagree, rather he says this is what they've decided to do, let them follow their own convictions and stay out of their way. Which doesn't seem so much to ask, but we all know better. He takes a simple, commonsense approach to this stuff -- he doesn't get too esoteric or philosophical, just a simple, pragmatic "this is what we did, and it works for us." My esteem for he and his wife/writing partner increased after reading this book.
They're short essays, and I wouldn't recommended reading too many of them in one sitting -- just a few at a time to keep it fresh and funny.
If anyone in the world actually remembered the book, I'd compare this to Paul Reiser's Babyhood but from a different angle. It has a similar mix of humor and sentiment on the same topic. Dad is Fat has a lot of laughs, some warming of the heart, and so many lines that I want to quote, I'd cross into copyright infringement if I tried. Give it a whirl, even if you don't have kids, you'll probably enjoy this.
Note:I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. Which was generous and cool of them, but didn't impact what I said about the book.