Moomah the Magazine
The Book Of Dads

The Book Of Dads

In his search for "a collection of essays that reached for what it means to be a father - from beginning to end," Ben George found himself asking why there seemed to be so many books on motherhood, but very few on fatherhood. No joke, he points out: whenever he attempted a search on for such a collection, the website would immediately correct him, asking "Did you mean motherhood?"

And so, in order to help himself and other dads alike, he decided to put together a collection of essays - The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils and Humiliations of Fatherhood. Written by a collection of twenty authors, the book speaks to dads about the perils, hilarity and joys of fatherhood and rings true both for those who have been a dad, or have loved a one.

Humorous and touching, the different essays address all that fatherhood brings, while maintaing an honest truth. 

"The essays in this book have pleased me in both their honesty and their balance," says Ben, in his introductory piece. "They're full of joy, the pleasure of being a dad, the incomparable kick of it, the profligacy of a father's love that cannot be contained or summed up. But there's also the humor, the pain, the self-doubt, even the desire, at times, to be anything other than a dad."

Almost every essay, written by very talented male authors, had us laughing. And some hit home in beautiful ways. The titles "The Night Shift" by Ben Fountain, and "The Chaos Machine" by Charles Baxter, and "For Ella" by Michael Thomas, hint as the tales' broad scope of reflections. One of our favorites is "The Job, By The Numbers," by Clyde Edgerton. We particularly enjoyed his tips for future fathers on 'before the birth':

6. While you're preparing car seat and crib, you can bet one thing: your wife will be cleaning the house. Mother Nature tells her to do this like she tells trees to grow leaves. Your wife, on hands and knees, will wash spots of baseboards with Q-tips. And when she asks you to do something, do it. In responding to her requests, don't ever use the word "logical." Before my first son's birth, my wife asked me to get a wire clothes hanger, put chewing gum on the tip end, and go deep inside the lint holder inside our clothes dryer and get every speck of lint out so the clothes dryer wouldn't catch fire and burn the house down on our first night home from the hospital. You know what I did? I did it. You know what I said? Nothing.

Ben George is editor of the literary journal Ecotone. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for Best New American Voices, and has appeared in Ninth Letter, Tin House, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife and daughter in North Carolina, and teaches at UNC Wilmington.


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