Home Game: An accidental guide to fatherhood (book review)

I recently finished Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood by Michael Lewis, who is simply wonderful to read. Lewis is one of those people who writes so well, on such a wide range of things; The Blind Side, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short that he’s near the top of the list of people I would pay to sit next on on an airplane.  Home Game is the book form of a series of Slate columns that Lewis wrote about parenting.  Like most of us, Lewis doesn’t know how to be a father, but he tries, and what follows are some funny incidents. Like the time his daughters were at the pool.

Then, out of nowhere, come four older boys. Ten, maybe eleven years old. As anyone who has only girls knows, boys add nothing to any social situation but trouble.

The boys cluster around his daughter and he’s watching from a distance. They start splashing pool noodles around her and he considers intervening, until his other daughter arrives on scene.

She jumps out in front of her older sister and thrusts out her there-year-old chest.

“TEASING BOYS!” she hollers, so loudly that grownups around the pool peer over their Danielle Steel novels. Even the boys are taken aback. Dixie, now on stage, raises her voice a notch:

“YOU SHUT UP YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKING ASSHOLE!”

To the extent that all hell break loose around a baby pool in a Bermuda resort, it does. A John Grisham novel is lowered; several of Danielle Steel’s vanish into bach bags.

I laughed so hard I snorted after reading that passage, and in true Lewis style, it got even better.  He didn’t teach her that word, but shares how she learned it.

It was a classic case of kids in the carpool sharing things they learned at school. The first kid said he heard a bad word, stupid. The second kid had to share a bad word too, dumb. The third kid, not wanting to be left out, shared shutpupyoustupidmotherfuckingasshole.

Back to the pool.

So here we are, months later, in this Bermuda pool, Dixie with her chest thrust out in defiance, me floating like a crocodile and feeling very much different than I should. I should be embarrassed and concerned. I should be sweeping her out of the pool and washing her mouth out with soap. I don’t feel that way. Actually, I’m impressed. More than impressed: awed. It’s just incredibly heroic…

And so the book begins.  Story after story fill the pages, all of them with some amount of funny and a touch of heartwarming. It was a quick read and one I could quote pages from at a time. If you found the story above funny, the rest of the book is just as good.

 

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