Thursday, November 17, 2011


By Greg Olear
HarperCollins 312 pgs
Submitted by HarperCollins
Rating: Sublime....

"Fathermucker" sounds rather suspect. I feel a touch profane when I say it. Harmless. I am a little confused but nevermind.

"Fathermucker" is the perfect title for this gem. This book is about a father mucking around, trying to hold it together. Josh Lansky is a husband, erst-while screenwriter, and stay-at-home father to Roland, a four-year-old boy with Asperger's, and Maude, a two-year-old girl with a dictatorial bent. His wife Stacy brings home the bacon and travels frequently for her job.

The story begins with Josh and Maude at a play-date with the usual suspects, a group of some half-dozen women and children. One of the play-daters has just told Josh that she thinks his wife is having an affair. Fathermucker takes place in a single day, as we follow Josh through this Friday, the morning before the accusation, and everything that comes after.

Josh struggles as we all do with the most mundane facts of life: breakfast, power struggles with toddlers, pest extermination, petrified french fries in the minivan, lunch, gossipy play-date mothers, snarky play-date mothers, bored play-date mothers, sexually extravagant play-date mothers, nap techniques, politically correct preschool, dinner, bathing, and the all-important if we park a kid in front of Barney for a half hour of peace will they grow up to become serial killers? These things are trying in uneventful circumstances but can you imagine trying to function while wondering if your wife of 13 years is stepping out?

I loved this book dearly, from page one. It is a spot-on observation of life in progress and how we cope, or not, when a wrench is thrown into the works, how our balance is precarious on our best days. Josh wants so badly to be a father worthy of the love and trust of his children. I believe he succeeds masterfully.

Please read this book. Priceless. Truly.

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PS - The portrayal of Roland's Asperger's was authentic and loving. They were my favorite parts.

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