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You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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P.J. O'Rourke and Dave Barry in Conversation
In the first paragraph of the prologue to his new book, The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way... And It Wasn't My Fault... And I'll Never Do It Again, political humor writer P.J. O'Rourke declares in no uncertain terms that he is "full of crap." Similarly, in the introduction to his upcoming book, You Can Date Boys When You're Forty, humor columnist Dave Barry explains that his book, despite its subtitle "Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About," is not about parenting.
It's easy to imagine that when these two bestselling authors and longtime pals get together, commiserative silliness ensues. But in this case, no imagination is necessary. We popped in on an email exchange between these two masters of existential trolling. Here's what happened:
Dave Barry: P.J. — I loved The Baby Boom which manages to be both hilarious and insightful. What I want to know is: How did you remember all that stuff? Especially about the '60s. Didn't you take drugs? Of course not! Neither did I! Drugs are bad! But my memories of that era are very purple-hazy, whereas you seem to remember every detail of everything that happened. How did you do that?
P.J. O'Rourke: I made it up. I'm a professional reporter. I'm PAID to make things up. Actually, I do remember a lot about the '60s. Probably because I still know a lot of the same people. And they're still yelling at me about things I did back then. Keeps memories fresh. Sort of like a wife. Just kidding, dear. Sort of like a first wife. And I loved You Can Date Boys When You're Forty. You admit you went to a Justin Bieber concert. Kind of pushing the envelope even for a confessional memoir. You're brave, dude, brave.
DB: I did indeed go to a Justin Bieber concert, because my daughter really really really wanted to go because she LOVED Justin Bieber. It was terrifying. I was in Coral Gables, Florida, in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew passed over and nearly took off the roof of the home in which I was cowering. I understood then why the noise of a hurricane is always compared to a freight train. What it SHOULD be compared to is a Justin Bieber concert. Given the choice, I'd rather sit through Andrew again.
PJO: When I pick my daughters up from school they, for some reason I can't imagine, don't want to listen to Rush Limbaugh, and so they tune the radio to what sounds to me like somebody donated 200 drum sets and an Auto-Tune to a juvenile delinquent corrections facility. But does this mean today's music sucks? Yes.
Read the full conversation on Omnivoracious.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is straightforward, like his other humor books, "The Taming of the Screw," "I'll Mature When I'm Dead," etc. The general subject matter is "getting older." While there were not any fart or booger jokes that I can recall, there was a long section on the nationwide epidemic of "noodle d**k," 50 Shades of Grey, musing about turning 65, and Justin Bieber/One Direction. It made me laugh out loud at least three times, AND I was reading this at the same time that I had the flu, i.e., feeling miserable. No mean feat!
While the majority of the best essays are stacked up front, this is still a book to read. Dave Barry is a master of situational comedy, he does it in print, and he's been doing it for years. Buy it.
Barry is in good form here; I chuckled out loud many times when reading this book, starting in the introduction. Barry has always been self-deprecating, and it's often funny, and it works well here. It's especially good when he can simultaneously make fun of himself for being a wimp, for example, while mocking those who behave differently for being foolhardy (see his discussion of young men shooting bottle rockets out of their derrières, for example).
The book is best when Barry makes fun of things he hasn't mocked before — Justin Bieber, Fifty Shades of Gray, Viagra commercials. It's weakest when he uses the same techniques to tread over ground he has visited before, like trying to help his daughter with her homework, or when he makes fun of his wife for shopping too much. He returns to that last trope repeatedly, and it seems chauvinistic and kind of mean.
On balance, this is another excellent collection from an author who has hit his stride. Not a long collection; I read it in about two hours. It would be a good gift for most grownups, especially fathers.
So after a few years of not really reading much of Barry's work, "You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About" is like visiting that rare nostalgic spot that still holds up even when you're older -- lots of rambling, goofy descriptions about family, life, sex and the many woes of being a parent.
Barry assures us that in addition to parenting, this book "covers many other topics, including grammar, sex, camels, women, brain surgery, sex with women, how to become a professional author, airlines, Justin Bieber and death." A lot of those are pretty connected, I suspect... especially the last two.
Among the topics he tackles: his daughter's crush on Justin Bieber, the terrifying ordeal of being the dad to a little girl, the lack of manliness in a technology-dominated society (including "ironic" clothing), reading "Fifty Shades of Grey," the problems of cremation, getting into the AARP demographic, the differences between men and women (sum-up: women talk more), the horror of flying in the age of the TSA, and touring Israel with his wife and a lot of total strangers.
And as a longtime writer, he also enlightens us with the facts about writing, authorship and grammar ("'Leonardo DiCaprio' is a noun because he is a person whereas 'Marlon Brando' is not because he died in 2004") and the proper etiquette for Internet debates ("Your a fascist"). It's certainly more informative than actual grammar lessons.Read more ›
Rating: Four-star (I like it)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd like to say I think being forced to select some of amazon's options before writing a review is stupid. There weren't even any characters in the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ozone
Not funny at all. I was expecting hilarious but instead only a few chapters were mildly humorous. I found it long-winded and most of it had no point. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Veronica C.
It was a laugh out loud book and I recommended it to every one!! Typical Dave Barry!!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
We listened to this on a road trip and we had so much fun. It was awesome. I love Dave Barry already, but this made some of the longer stretches of nothing go by faster.Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Thornton
Those were the worst group of selections I have ever seen offered in a questionnaire. Under mood how about funny, hilarious, hysterical? Why even ask about the plot? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kirk S. H.