Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon: Book Review

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son

By Michael Chabon
Harper Perennial
ISBN: 978-0-06-149019-4

Description: A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own lives: as a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past. 

What does it mean to be a man today? Chabon invokes and interprets and struggles to reinvent for us, with characteristic warmth and lyric wit, the personal and family history that haunts him even assimply becauseit goes on being written every day. As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as the father of four young Americans, Chabon presents his memories of childhood, of his parents' marriage and divorce, of moments of painful adolescent comedy and giddy encounters with the popular art and literature of his own youth, as a theme playedon different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new keyby the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor.

The Good Stuff
  • The essay entitled "The Amateur Family" about being a family of geeks -- please adopt me I belong with you guys
  • Essays are wonderfully written, interesting and extremely witty at times
  • The author is obviously a geek -- and you know what they say "The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth" -- in your face oh husband of mine who is soooo not a geek
  • Book starts with a great essay
  • The Essay entitled "The Memory Hole" about children's artwork -- trust me if you are a parent you will definitely understand it!
  • The Essay "The Wilderness of Childhood" I very much agree with the author -- now we have to figure out what to do about it
The Not so Good Stuff

  • Some of the essays are a little dry and over my head -- nothing against the author, I am just not that intelligent
  • Chapter on Baseball -- but that's because I am a chick and I don't get the passion for the sport

What I Learned
  • All men seem to really like Baseball
  • That I really need to watch Dr Who, the 1970's Dr creeped me out so much I never tried any of the other versions
  • A better understanding of men -- well except I still don't get the baseball thing or the stooges for that matter

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I define being a good father in precisely the same terms that we ought to define being a good mother-doing my part to handle and stay on top of the endless parade of piddly shit"  (Jen's note -- I AGREE)

"I like a good sitcom as much as anybody , but did any kids ever try to get up a game of Murphy Brown"

"the trick of being a man is to give the appearance of keeping your head, when deep inside, the truest part of you is crying out, Oh s**t"

"I don't know what you need to truly understand brassieres, and what's more, I don't want to know.  I'm sorry. Go ask your mother."

"I am a liberal agnostic empiricist, proud to be a semi-observant, bacon-eating Jew, and I have only contempt for the intolerance, ignorance, anti-intellectualism, self-deception, implicit violence, and misogyny that underlie religious fundamentalism of every flavor."

Who Should Read
  • Men and Women over the age of 13 (women just skip over baseball chapter)

4 Dewey's (Definite worth price of cover)

I received the book in return for an honest review -- don't shoot me if you don't like it, it's just my opinion.


  1. Im not a huge essay fan but I have to admit youve made this sound compelling! Great review (as always!)

  2. Thanks Connie! It was really interesting -- well except for the baseball essay - snore!

  3. This might make a good Fathers Day gift for my husband.

  4. Great idea Stacy - I think he will enjoy it