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Fathermucker: A Novel Paperback – October 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fierce and funny” (Washington Post)

“Fathermucker is witty, realistic, and charming, replete with a father’s genuine love for his family. An entertaining choice for book clubs members of both genders, particularly those with young children.” (Library Journal)

“This brilliantly insightful novel explores the trials of modern fatherhood through one hectic day... Littered with hilariously genuine anecdotes, parental pathos, and a hearty dose of pop culture, this clever, comic, and compassionate novel will appeal to fans of Jim Lindberg and Jonathan Evison.” (Booklist)

“A lively and keenly observed portrait of twenty-first century parenthood.” (Penthouse)

“All kinds of funny-raucously, wickedly, sweetly, saucily, surprisingly, profanely funny…a wonderful novel, capturing in a single manic day the helpless ache of parenthood and the ceaseless flood of popular culture.” (Jess Walter, author of The Financial Lives of the Poets)

From the Inside Flap


A screenwriter, fledgling freelancer, and stay-at-home dad of two, Josh Lansky has held everything together during his wife Stacy's week-long business trip--until this morning's playdate, when he finds out through the mommy grapevine that Stacy might be having an affair.  What Josh needs is a break. He's not going to get one.
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Download an essay by author Greg Olear titled, "I, Fathermucker" [PDF].

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062059718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062059710
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Beaudoin on October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Funny and a little heartbreaking, sexy and more than a little subversive, insightful and allusive--not adjectives you'd necessarily think would describe a novel about 24 hours in the life of a harried stay-at-home dad. At least not based on my own occasional stay at home experience(s). But in Fathermucker, Greg Olear manages to squeeze all that and more into a single day, making even the most banal aspects of child-rearing (and, let's be honest, there's a lot of them) pretty damn entertaining. This is a book about parenting, about marriage, about gender dynamics, about pop culture--about what it means to be a good father, and a good husband.

Do we need any more of these types of books? I wouldn't have thought so, but the answer appears to be an emphatic yes.

The obvious antecedent is Little Children--as pointed out in the PW review, although they spell Tom Perrotta's name wrong--but aside from the surface element of having stay-at-home dads as central characters, the two books have little in common. Perrotta's main concern seemed to be telling an amusing but unabashedly ready-for-Meg Ryan story, while Olear is on the whole more ambitious, his subversion not just a product of afternoon adultery, but what treads deep (and frighteningly) in the water of the parental soul. By the end of the book, there's not much about Josh Lansky we don't know; his flaws are readily apparent. Olear channels Joyce more than he does Perrotta--although Fathermucker is way more fun-and much shorter-than Ulysses. At least I think it is, since I gave up on Ulysses halfway through and read Beyond The Valley of the Dolls instead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ATown on October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fathermucker takes place during one particularly tumultuous day in the life of Josh Lansky, aspiring screenwriter and stay at home dad to two pre-schoolers. Josh's interior monologue covers everything from ruminations on kids' tv to what's in the latest issue of US Weekly to hilarious pieces of an imagined screenplay depicting his wife's possible infidelity.

This book is a must read for parents of young children and frankly anyone who likes smart, funny, adult literature. The book achieves the difficult balance of being both wickedly satirical and compassionately humanist--the same sort of balance that guys like Nick Hornby and Tom Perrotta go for. Fathermucker deserves as wide an audience as either of those authors. It's that compelling/entertaining/laugh-out-loud funny.

One additional note: I won't spoil it, but there's one tour de force section towards the end of the book that will change the way you read Dr. Seuss forever. I was reading Cat in the Hat to my daughter just days after finishing this book, and let's just say it was weird. Just preparing you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew B. Baldwin on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you've read Greg Olear's first novel, Totally Killer (and if you haven't, you really should) you might be expecting a second helping of the biting satire that made that book such a wonderfully entertaining read. You won't find any of that here. The only action here is the kind you get when an autistic boy throws a fit at his sister, and his dad has to handle it. The plot is fairly simple: a stay-at-home dad endures a long Friday as the sole parent to his preschool kids while his breadwinner wife is away on business. Yes, one of the kids has a touch of mental illness, but that's simply one more flavor in the meal, not the centerpiece.

But it's this quiet focus that makes Fathermucker every bit the engrossing read it's predesser was. Where Totally Killer relied more on characters drawn from pop-culture archetypes (aproppriate, as it was a satire of them), Fathermucker focus on very real family dynamics, as the protagonist attempts to singlehandedly negotiate the sticky business of being a suburban parent, and the book is better for it. Olear is very good as portraying the (mis)adventures that can go into parenting a couple of kids - even when one DOESN'T have Asperger's.

While the book isn't the kind of satire that Totally Killer was, make no mistake: it is also funny as hell. Olear is a witty writer, and very, very good at nailing the conventions of pop culture and celebrity infatuation, which his narrator does as a means of coping with various trials and trevails. This makes the book a multi-layed, enjoyable read with broad appeal; everyone who has ever babysat a kid or cracked open a gossip magazine will find something to enjoy here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tawni Freeland on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
As I read Greg Olear's Fathermucker, I quickly realized this book would make an excellent Christmas gift for my parent friends (or anyone with a sense of humor, really, parent or not). I immediately wanted to share it with others who would also understand how funny and right on target it is.

I found myself reading lines aloud to my husband, and nodding along in complete agreement with Olear's hilariously wry pop culture observations and harsh-but-true parenting realities. During certain moments as a parent, I have thought, "Never in a million years would I have imagined myself doing/saying/hearing/seeing THIS..." and the book perfectly captures that feeling of mystification mated with mortification. The plot between the husband and wife also had me captivated instantly, and I finished this book in two days. I couldn't put it down.

I loved relating to the odd phenomenon of mind-numbing tedium contrasted with the bizarre situations that sometimes arise in a day of parenting. I loved the informative and honest way Asperger's was described and discussed. And I loved the romantic, mysterious storyline that had me riveted, wondering how it was all going to turn out in the end.

I can't recommend this book heartily enough. A great read!
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