Thursday, May 22, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: Dad is Fat - Jim Gaffigan

Please join me in welcoming guest reviewer Shannon Blockburger.  Welcome!

Summary:  In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.  (Summary and image from

My Review: Jim Gaffigan is a funny man. I love his stand up comedy. The man has a gift for talking about food.  And this book had some funny moments, but certainly not enough for 270 pages worth of material. I was of hoping for more "laugh-out- loud" moments, and they just weren't there. It had more of a "small smirk to myself" kind of feel.

I obviously related to the material, being a parent and all.  Except I only have two kids, as opposed to five, and I live in Suburbia instead of Manhattan.  (Time out.  Who raises five kids in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City?  That sounds like a nightmare!  I don’t think we’d ever go anywhere, because you have to keep track of five kids in New York City.  And yet I’d have to go somewhere, because just thinking about that many people in a two-bedroom apartment makes me hyperventilate.  End rant.)  But even though I completely understood many of his parenting woes, at times I had to do a quick flip to the end and ask, "HOW many more pages?" Not the page-turner I had hoped for.  For what it’s worth, I think the second half was better than the first half.  So you should start in the middle, and then it will probably be just the right length.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter about being pale.  My enjoyment had very little to do with being a parent, and everything to do with being pale myself.  I, too, have spent hours applying sunscreen, and dread going outside in the summer.  Right on, Mr. Gaffigan.  Right on.

Also, I'm not sure I could ever take my kids to Disney World after reading his assessment of the place. Long lines, exhausted children, excessive heat, and highly expensive.  No, thank you.  Except I just watched a Disney commercial, and now I really want to go there.  Perhaps I should give that chapter a quick re-read anytime I feel the Disney itch.  It’d save me a boatload of money.

Overall, I liked the book, I just didn’t love it.  Which was disappointing, as I had higher expectations.

My Rating: 3 stars

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