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Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table Hardcover – May 22, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400065372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400065370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,487,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having left behind the life of ambition-driven associates at a large law firm, which he described in his memoir Double Billing, Stracher lives comfortably with his family in Westport, Conn. However, the two-hour commute into New York City, an 80-hour work-week split between two professions, and out-of-state travel begin to take their toll. When a shared meal of black bean burritos suddenly draws together his disparate family, Stracher pledges that rather than grubbing food from subway vendors or eating takeout in his office, he will dine with his family five nights a week and prepare half of the meals himself. He simmers, sautés and skewers gourmet dinners, only to be rebuffed by his two kids, who would rather eat boxed macaroni and cheese. Only later does Stracher take such rejection in stride, realizing that feeding a family is more than "refueling"; it includes "nourishing" them, too—physically and emotionally. In the meantime, he turns into "Mad Dad," an candid self-portrayal of a loving but frustrated father who yells and stomps and mopes, creating more tension than harmony. Stracher finally recognizes success when he notices that he is no longer just present for dinner with his family but an "essential ingredient." In the end, Stracher's is a sincere and witty account of his family and his struggle to get them to the table. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bumping along on one of the endlessly repetitive late-night train rides that have come to dominate and regulate his life, lawyer and writer Stracher realizes how the daily commute from Westport to Manhattan has left him enervated and emotionally drained. He also senses that he's missing out on both the pleasures and the responsibilities of raising his two children. Devising a work schedule that lets him spend at least some days operating from home, Stracher announces to his wife and children that he will start eating dinner with them every night at six, offering even to do some of the cooking and other domestic chores. High-minded notions of deep and earnest conversations among parents and children soon give way to more pedestrian scenes of fussy-eating children and everyday domestic pandemonium. But Stracher's resolve eventually yields priceless benefits, and he paints an ultimately hopeful, joyful picture of what contemporary family life can be. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dizziey on July 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Cameron Stracher's "Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table" chronicled the author's attempt and journey to be a good dad by having dinner with his two kids. Cameron lives in Westport, Connecticut but works as a law professor in New York City and he typically spends two hours travelling to work each way everyday. In addition, he also works as legal counsel for an organization out in Kansas City. Needless to say, he hardly shares a meal with his family at dinnertime. One night, he made a decision to be at home for dinner during his kids's new school year and he would even cook at least half the time. This decision proved to be a lot harder especially since he had to leave work early and at the same time get his work done. Cooking at home proved to be even more of a challenge especially since his kids refused to eat most of what he cooked and they had developed weird eating habits. It became a personal challenge to Cameron to make sure his kids share his love for diverse and ethnic food.

This was a great read for me as it was fun and witty and the writing was very conversational. The author provided valuable insights into family life and how the simple of act of eating dinner with family made a difference. Many would be able to identify with Cameron's situation and how the pursue of wealth had replaced the importance of spending quality time with one's family. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on July 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Workaholic attorney Cameron Stracher braves a mega-commute in the New York area to only wonder, "Is that all there is?" Determined to better his life and reconnect with his two kids and wife, he resolves to dial back his work devotion to fixing dinner for his family.

He finds this is almost as much of a challenge as practicing law. This first-person memoir is touching and absorbing as Stracher details the emotional and financial tradeoffs that bedevil us as we strive to find more balance in our lives.

A very good read!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Slusarski on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I first heard of this book,the concept was not all that unusual.It was something I was familiar with, raising kids,putting together meals,what I did not expect was the candid honesty and humor that made this book a great read.It should be required reading for those of us who try to balance work and family and end up with less of each
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More About the Author

Cameron Stracher was born and raised in Roslyn, Long Island. At a young age, he wanted to be a writer, and had his first play produced while an undergraduate at Amherst College. After college, he retreated to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he tried to write the Great American Novel. Failing miserably, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he still managed to take a writing workshop from Mary Robison at Harvard College. He returned to Woods Hole after earning his J.D. degree, and was the only waiter at the Coonamessett Inn who was also admitted to the New York State bar. Finally, succumbing to parental and financial pressure, he got a real job at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he lasted for one year before fleeing for the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

He spent four years in Iowa City, studying under Frank Conroy, James Salter, Marilynne Robinson, Meg Wolitzer, and Deborah Eisenberg. More important, he met his wife, Christine Pakkala, a poet, while she was serving cheese samples at the food co-op. After Christine graduated, the couple moved to New York City where Cameron practiced law at Friedman & Kaplan, and then became in-house counsel at CBS, handling libel, privacy, copyright and other claims for the network. One of the highlights of his career during those years was getting Dan Rather out of jury duty.

Cameron won a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1994, and his first novel, The Laws of Return, was published by William Morrow in 1996. His non-fiction account of his life as a law firm associate, Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and a Swivel Chair, was also published by Morrow in 1998. He left CBS in 1999 and joined the media law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, where he became partner and helped open the New York office. In 2001, he began teaching at New York Law School, and eventually became the Publisher of the Law Review and the Co-Director of the school's new Program in Law & Journalism. His second book of non-fiction, Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table, was published by Random House in 2007. It has recently been optioned for television by 3Arts Entertainment. In 2010 Cameron left New York Law School to spend more time writing and with his family. In 2011, Sourcebooks published his first YA novel, the dystopian thriller The Water Wars.

At present, he is Of Counsel to Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, and has his own media law practice where he counsels clients like Hybrid Films, producer of the hit TV series Dog the Bounty Hunter, and provides litigation and transactional advice to other independent film, TV, and entertainment companies. He also handles all pre-publication review for Star and OK! magazines and all litigation for American Media publications, including the National Enquirer.

In addition to his books, Cameron has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He is an avid runner and his non-fiction book about the running boom, The Kings of the Road, will be published by Houghton Mifflin in April 2013. He lives in Westport, Connecticut, with his wife, two children, and two dogs.

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