By Victoria Wilson-Addo
I've never been a father, dealt with giggling emergency room visits, a hyper-sensitive pregnant wife or worried about sending the kids to college, but Jason Offutt's On Being Dad transported me to a world where I was just the opposite of a twenty-something British girl; a forty-something American dad.
This book is an assortment of snapshots taken from life with Offutt's crime-fighting mutant son, vengefully peeing daughter, green poop pooping baby and hush puppy craving wife. It is so absorbing that I blame it for making me miss so many tube [subway] stops each time I read it. Even the introduction, an invention I tend to disagree with (can't books speak for themselves?) is entertaining.
On Being Dad should not be confined to the eyes of floundering fathers, but open to anyone, regardless of which role in the family you most fit. Every story has universally recognisable moments. Except perhaps, the one about t-ball -a game that may be exclusive to the U.S. (maybe explaining the rules of cricket would be a fair exchange). These are funny reminders of family life; the unit society is supposedly based on. Which if true, on reading this book is a startling, but encouraging thought.
These reminiscences are easy to identify with; whether you were the boy who discovered the Tooth fairy secretly uses Superman's baby teeth for bullets to shoot monsters without mouths, a girl who considers The Rolling Stones to be a boy band, a pregnant lioness who prepares for soon-to-be-born cubs by Christmas decorating two months early, or a Dad remembering the cardboard box that made his childhood Christmas' magical.
A warning before opening On Being Dad: be aware of your surroundings and just how many people will look at you strangely before edging away as you erupt with sniggers, cackles, guffaws and belly-laughter.