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Publisher's Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Manhood for Amateurs

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Book!

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loving Chabon

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, fun and thought provoking!

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!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A trip down memory lane

What did you love best about Manhood for Amateurs?

Michael gave us a peek into the mind of the "male", a taste of nostalgia and more then a few laughs.

What about Michael Chabon’s performance did you like?

Always love it when the Author can read his own work..We get the insight from the writers personal voice inflection

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Sure made me laugh! A lot!

Any additional comments?

Male or Female...a great read/listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A funny and warm narrative

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Very disappointing

This one was very disappointing. The stories are self-serving without conveying any genuine insight or charm.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

profound

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!!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible

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.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Well-titles and overwritten

If you like the presentation style of the average triple-hyphenate NPR commentator, but wish it included more disparagement of masculinity, whiteness, capitalism and modern versions of original sin, this book is for you.

The book is a celebration of failure and and weakness at every turn, and regards strength as fakery or at least suspicious, rather than something that can be built up. Except if it’s women. Then they all wonder women- sorry Big Barda.

There are some high points, mostly when he talks about his children. But the author’s attempt to be honest about his flaws without celebrating any of his virtues leaves you wondering why you’re reading about this nebbish, when you’re wishing he’d just be a mensch.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Amusing ruminations by a charming &bright neurotic

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.