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Just a Guy Reviews "Home Game"

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Bruce Sallan: "Home Game" is a short, easy and fun, diary-form book about the periods around the births of the author's three children; two girls and one boy. Told in a totally enjoyable and anecdotal fashion, it almost read like a long magazine article which, if fact, it originally was, more or less. It began as a series of reflections in Slate, the Web magazine, over an eight-year period.

home game book cover by michael lewis

Michael Lewis is an author of some repute, having written several other books, including "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side." Living in Berkeley, California or as many of us like to call it, "Beserkely," certainly informed the style and sense of humor throughout its compact 190 pages.

The main premise of the book is simply the notion that most fathers are both unprepared for fatherhood and truly dislike much of the process, from feeling left out in the birthing room, to dealing with early childhood classes in which moms dominate. Like a dirty little secret, many of Mr. Lewis' revelations deal with his horror and frustration over the various aspects of parenthood.

There was a lot of guilt, at times, for the author, as he wasn't feeling what he thought he was supposed to feel when he looked at his infant children. Granted, he grew more experienced and aware of details with the births of his second and third, but he often just wasn't relating to the burping, farting, and other indelicate liquids that seemed to be his babies' only contribution to the family.

No parent can read this book without some identification, however secret they may want to keep it, as well as plenty of "been there, done that" moments lovingly and at times side-splitting funnily written and described in often painful detail.

His is not an unusual story, but rather the more typical unspoken one of the daily life of a family under siege from its growing brood. That is its charm -- his description of the little things and the daily challenges of running their household. That said, there's no doubt only parents and those planning parenthood would appreciate this book. I did and I remembered well those early years. When I finished he book, I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn't there any more.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Melissa Silverstein August 4, 2009, 2:16 PM

I’ve always been a fan on Michael Lewis’ writing. He’s able to take mundane and really unappealing topics to me (like baseball stats) and make them seem not only interesting but accessible.

Loren August 7, 2009, 2:01 PM

Although I never had my own children, I would think feeling left out in the birthing room would be okay with me if I didn’t have to go through 9 months of pregnancy and the actual birthing process.:-))) Not being able to relate is a natural feeling, especially if it’s your first for a man or a woman. It’s learn as you go. Good critique Bruce.

Shani August 7, 2009, 5:05 PM

I really like that more and more of these kinds of stories are being told from the male perspective. Even though it’s not an “unusual story” I don’t see as many men writing about parenting, fatherhood, relationships etc. except for Bruce of course.

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