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Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad Hardcover – May 22, 2012
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For those who haven’t yet sampled Zevin’s brand of comic memoir, try this: he’s Dave Barry but without the punchlines. He’s very funny, but he doesn’t just go for the jokes; his writing is more laid-back, letting the humor come from the people and situations. Zevin takes us through his transformation from cool dude—OK, he wasn’t that cool or that much of a dude—to a guy with two kids, a dog, a wife with a full-time career, and the most splendid, awe-inspiring, get-down-on-your-knees-and-worship-it minivan ever. It’s a book about a regular guy taking his first tentative, sometimes scary steps toward being a fully formed adult, and it is always funny and sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious. Misadventures include Zevin’s courtroom battle to get a bogus ticket thrown out; his being hired, inexplicably, to deliver a commencement address at a nearby college; and his and his wife’s borderline-frantic search for a new nanny. Highly recommended to fans of Barry, Roy Blount, and Bill Geist. --David Pitt
“This is the funniest book about parenting I've read in a long, long time. Dan Zevin is a major talent. I want to kill him." —Dave Barry
“Dave Barry has made a career of writing about Dave Barry. P.J. O'Rourke writes about P.J. O'Rourke. And David Sedaris writes about David Sedaris and the strange Sedaris clan into which he was born. You could throw Zevin in with any of them and he would hold his own. He might even float to the top.” (USA Today)
“Dan Zevin yanks the car seats and the sippy cups out of that minivan and sticks a blow Hemi dragster engine back there—I mean in his prose style. In his lifestyle it's, um . . . a different matter.” —P.J. O’Rourke
"It’s a book about a regular guy taking his first tentative, sometimes scary steps toward being a fully formed adult, and it is always funny and sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious.... Highly recommended to fans of Barry, Roy Blount, and Bill Geist." —Booklist
"Zevin is a poster boy for egalitarian — even feminist — fatherhood. But at the same time, he presents himself as a loving goof-off: a guy who’s picked the most enjoyable option — parenting — over working a high-powered, full-time job…With nods to Woody Allen and Larry David, Zevin has forged a persona of half-dorky (yet all-devoted) Jewish dad that’s endearing.” (Forward)
"Zevin, in the grand tradition of humorists, has made the most of his failures...What elevates his work above mere irreverence is the quality of insight he brings to relatively familiar terrain." (Boston Globe)
“Zevin is one hilarious house-husband—like Seinfeld for the stay-at-home-dad set. Raise a sippy cup and cheer him on.” (People)
Top customer reviews
Speaking as a person who is also a stay-at-home dad, many of his issues I could relate to in our household. Granted, I live in Maine while he lives in Brooklyn. Also trying to hire a nanny, being Jewish, or giving a college commencement speech, as Mr. Zevin did, is as foreign to me as communing with dead Elvis. However, many of his other topics I could understand his mindset. These topics include buying their first minivan, kind of falling into the role of stay-at-home dad, date night with his spouse, a Disneyland vacation, preparing a New England style Thanksgiving meal, a trip to Costco with his dad, and the appeal of moving to the suburbs. His one article I especially enjoyed was his only rant about an inattentive dad at a playground.
Many dads, especially if you work from home as the author does, will likely find Mr. Zevin's work funny. It will help if you have some inkling of New York City's blunt environment. It's an easy, quick summer read which only required me to use a dictionary for a handful of Yiddish words. 'Dan Gets a Minivan' is worth it if you're in need of some giggles. Shalom with a cherry on top.
To me the funniest chapter was chapter 4 entitled BIG NOSE ON CAMPUS, in which he is hired to give the commencement speech at a small Catholic College. He is certain they made a mistake due to his religious affiliation. But he wants the speaking fee, so tries to put the college dean, Sister Kathleen, at ease by repeatedly mentioning his wife's name, MEGAN, who is neither Catholic nor Irish, but her name would indicate she might be and he feels that the mere mention of her name will help him in getting the speaking gig. The whole chapter was really funny in his description of the event. This chapter was then followed by the next entitled NANNY IN A HAYSTACK, which was my second most favorite, in which he tries to hire a nanny. Any parent who has had that experience will appreciate the humor and pathos of such an endeavor.
The entire book is written as separate vignettes of life's various experiences told in a humorous self-deprecating manner, but still drifting back to the idea that the author wouldn't have traded it for any other way.
It is a lighthearted summer read that can be read on several level of enjoyment and understanding of life's various journeys.
Just plain fun!
Imagine my relief to find Mr. Zevin's book, which I felt like I could not put down after opening it. It's my new manual for how to relate to my friends who have kids. But what's great, too, is that I don't have to have kids to relate to the author, because he is so funny, so disarming, and really insightful about what it's like to go through some changes in life without a blueprint attached. Apparently it's easier to go through these changes while sitting in a Captain's Chair, the official name for the driver's seat in a minivan. Love it.