Book Review: Dad is Fat

Dad is FatDad Is Fat
by Jim Gaffigan, Nonfiction – Memoir 
(Released May, 2013)

Bottom Line: Read it…but only if you have kids or are currently pregnant.
Essays about Jim’s experience raising five children in a two bedroom Manhattan apartment. Yes, you read that correctly.
My Thoughts: I found Dad is Fat listed in the “books” section of a magazine called The Week that my cousin had left lying around. Since I just moved out of Manhattan because my husband and I had gotten fed up with the unique hassles of raising our children there, I figured this thing would be right up my alley. I enjoyed the book and could relate to some of his stories and anecdotes, but did not find it laugh out loud funny like many reviews indicated. I definitely found it humorous and smiled many times, but I didn’t think it was as funny as it could have been given the material Gaffigan most certainly had to work with. It didn’t have as many Manhattan-specific anecdotes as I expected, but this broadens the book’s appeal outside of Manhattanites. The first essay about Jim’s experience traveling to the Grand Canyon with his brother and sister-in-law and their one year old was actually the funniest one in there – and it was before Jim even had children. His essay about applying sunscreen to five screaming, thrashing toddlers is funny and relatable (applying sunscreen to one screaming, thrashing toddler is hard enough!). And, his essay about how cousins completely make family gatherings, especially for children, is touching and so true in my experience as well! I also obviously marveled at the Gaffigan’s ability to manage five children at all, much less in Manhattan and while subscribing to the philosophy of attachment parenting…I mean, good lord, it’s a wonder they have any sanity! I did get a little annoyed with Gaffigan’s writing style – he is a stand-up comedian and it was obvious in a cheesy way at times. He seems to have a fondness for bad puns (i.e. when talking about how horrible kids are with chewing gum, he says “I am definitely pro-gum control”) and randomly inserted jokes that don’t really fit the story. Sometimes it felt like he left an “insert joke here” note to himself as he was writing and came back later to fill it in. Even though I did have some issues with the book, it was an entertaining, relatable read overall and would be great for the beach. Dad is Fat is going on my Summer Reading List.

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