Whether reflecting on his role as son, brother, husband, or father, Chabon's delightful essays are provocative and insightful. This wide-ranging collection touches on everything from becoming a father to losing a father-in-law (through divorce); from musings on a quirky childhood to a discussion of what society considers to be a "good father" today. He also describes his quandary over what to do with his four children's prolific artwork. By turns poignant and witty, Chabon is a comfortable, inviting narrator. His relaxed and conversational style is shot through with occasional fervent moments. He's unhurried yet precise in his pacing and phrasing, and most of all likably, often ruefully, humorous.
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: as a series of reflections, regrets, and re-examinations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.
What does it mean to be a man today? As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as a father, Chabon's 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, are like a theme played by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor.
At once dazzling, hilarious, and moving, Manhood for Amateurs is destined to become a classic.
©2009 Michael Chabon; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Both lyrical and side-splittingly funny.... Readers seeking the intelligence of Updike; the gentle, brainy appeal of Sedaris; or the literary virtuosity of Nabokov will thoroughly enjoy." (Library Journal)
"Chabon takes a big, fat swing at the essay form with his second collection and achieves success....These warm and thoughtful essays underscore just how good a wordsmith Chabon is-regardless of the form he chooses." (Booklist)
"Wry and heartfelt, Chabon's riffs uncover brand-new insights in even the most quotidian subjects....He applies an unusual level of wit and candor to the form." (Kirkus Reviews)
I don't think that the other reviewers actually read this book. Perhaps it is because Michael Chabon and I were born around the same time and have lived some similar experiences, but I thought this book was fantastic. I kept thinking as I would read a particular passage,"yes...I wish I had thought of that" or "I wish I could write like that". It is beautifully written essays about life that are remarkably ordinary and profound at the same time. I love his reading voice too. This is a book that I have now listened to several times and I will keep it on my ipod for a long time hence as well. Thoroughly delightful.
mostly nonfiction listener
Fatherhood is about constant failure. We will be impatient when we should be wise. Focussed on trivial matters when we should be hanging out with our kids. Talking when we should be listening. Distracted when we should be focussed. Chabon is one of my favorite novelists, a beautiful and funny writer. His stories of growing up in a divorced household in the 1970s rang true to my own (although Chabon is about 6 years older) - we both swam through endless amounts of pop culture crap. His attempts to create a stable and invigorating home life (4 kids and a writing spouse) provide a funny roadmap and mirror the rest of us amateur dads, husbands, and guys.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
This was a quick read book of essays by and about author Michael Chabon's life.
Chabon was surprisingly revealing. (I found myself wondering if I were Michael Chabon's kid, would I want to read something that talks so frankly about my parent's sex life or pot-smoking habits? But, that's part of what makes it interesting.) And, while it seemed kind of light weight and quick-to-digest at the time, even after several weeks I still find myself thinking about and talking about some of his essays with others.
I especially enjoyed the essay about the clock of the long now and how when we were growing up, people actively talked about and imagined the future - what it would be like, look like, the new ways in which people would interact with technology. Chabon said that now, no one thinks about the future - perhaps because daily life is all changing so fast.
Enjoyable, fun and thought provoking!
I'm a landscape architect by profession and an avid listener of audio books ! I particularly love the historical based fiction series, like Courteney, McCammon, and Gabaldon,. I listen in the car, while designing in my studio and most evenings.
Michael gave us a peek into the mind of the "male", a taste of nostalgia and more then a few laughs.
Always love it when the Author can read his own work..We get the insight from the writers personal voice inflection
Sure made me laugh! A lot!
Male or Female...a great read/listen.
As a long time fan of Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman, I felt some trepidation reading his memoir. But my hestitation soon evaporated as I entered into his funny and insightful memories and thoughts.
Mr. Chabon narrates his own story giving it more depth and feeling. He is a funny smart and modest man living a full life as a father, husband and writer.
His insights are worth listening to and this audio book was a pleasure to listen to.
I had moments where I laughed so hard and others where I stopped while I was running on the trail and sat and wept as the images of my life, my own kids, my own father swept over me. What a profound writer and thinker. Outstanding!!!
This book simply isn't funny or insightful. Chabon reminds me of Woody Allen, but without the sense of humor. He's just plain whiny and neurotic. Don't waste your time or money.
Anger that I spent money on such trash.Sad that his profanity laced pose passes for an attempt at parental introspection.Disappointed that society has sunken so low.
His anger filled diatribes were not informative or entertaining
I tried this one because I enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay so much.
It was a pleasure to hear him tell his stories, in his own words - his life experience that helped shape that magnificent story.
The only thing I didn't really care for was the "series of short stories" aspect of it. Why I expected a solid through-line or a planned out story arc I don't know, other than I really admired it in his other book. I will certainly be checking out his other books, but eventually - not right away. I need to be ready to hear about another terrible death of a dog.
If you grew up in the 70's or Early 80's like I did. This book is filled with great storytelling , thoughtfulness and honesty to those moments when we as men realize we don't know it all and our Dad's didn't either. Learning that to most son's our dad is a hero, invincible, unchanging, and steadfast. But this book put great light on things for me. To learn to forgive my father for things he didn't understand, to enable my son to be who he is and not what I think he should be. I THANK Michael Chabon for writing this book, it made me chuckle at times, even cringe, especially THINK about how I raise my son.
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