Book Review: Manhood for Amateurs

I am a fan of writer Michael Chabon (although I can never remember how to pronounce his name, and then when I hear it said on the radio during book interviews, I say, oh, that’s how you say it … and then I forget). I recently finished his collection of essays in Manhood for Amateurs, Chabon’s musings on being a father and a husband in this modern age. Like most of his writing, the essays here are a mix of insight, humor and circling around important themes that really resonated with me as a fellow dad and husband. (Chabon has written The Wonder Boys, The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, and Summerland, among other books).

Chabon’s childhood of comics and pop culture immersion in the 1970s, and his desire to try to balance being a supportive and flexible but not-to-overbearing father, and often feeling as that balance is never achieved, hit home with me. Even the subtitle says a lot: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son.

While not every piece in this collection is strong (if I were editor …), the majority of the essays could easily stand by themselves (and may have already done so in other journals and magazines … I’m not sure). Taken together as a collection, the writings here by Chabon are rich readings of a talented writer working to make sense of his world, even when he all too often comes up short and knows it. Still, his passion for his family, and for learning from his mistakes, is something worth noting.

I notice that Father’s Day is coming up. You may want to consider Manhood for Amateurs instead of a new tie this year.


Peace (in the learning),


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