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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son Hardcover – October 6, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
And while it's fantastic that moms have avenues for them to connect and to converse, dads have had to work much harder to find thoughtful writing about fatherhood that doesn't idealize, essentialize, or talk down to them. Now, Chabon has filled that niche admirably with MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS, a wide-ranging but thematically focused collection of his autobiographical writings (many previously published in Details magazine and elsewhere). Here, Chabon touches on many of the motifs that he has explored in his other nonfiction writing and in his novels --- baseball, comics, sex, writing, religion --- but inevitably circles back to what is, for him, at the center of it all: his family.
Chabon, a father of four young children, uses his writing to constantly define what it means --- and what it could mean --- to be a husband, a father, and a man in the early years of the 21st century.Read more ›
Also on the positive side, Chabon doesn't make the mistake of defining manhood as the opposite of womanhood. The meaningful comparison to men is not women but boys. Chabon seems to understand this.
But on the negative side, Chabon makes little effort to say anything about manhood. Instead, it's mostly a collection of musings and complaints about being a father and about how the kids these days are living in a world that suppresses their imagination and they're probably going to grow up to be automatons working for a consumer-driven machine that doesn't care about art or creativity but only greed and profit and oh boy back in my day it was different because we appreciated baseball cards and at least our bad TV shows were fuzzy around the edges so that we could think and dream and be interesting unlike today's youth who are just a bunch of gooberheads. That's paraphrasing, but that's basically Chabon's POV.
On manhood, about the only thing that Chabon has to say is that men are characterized by feigned competence. They don't know what they're doing but it's their manly proclivity to pretend that they do. Er, okay, thanks for that insight. (Can I have my 7 hours back?)
I suspect the reason Chabon doesn't have much to say about manhood is because his values are so cartoonishly, Berkleyishly liberal. My values are fairly liberal, too, but I am at least able to acknowledge the existence and merits of the conservative POV. And I must say that a healthy dose of conservativism seems necessary to talk meaningfully about manhood.Read more ›
As much as I didn't want to compare their writing (which strikes me as horribly unfair), I got a lot of food for thought from Waldman's book but I fell in love with Chabon's book. His writing pleased me immensely. The way he puts words together thrilled me and amused me and touched me. So much so that I think I'll just spend the rest of this review cramming as many little excerpts in as I can. Why listen to me go on and on about how much I loved this book when you can experience it for yourself?
Consider his essay the "Splendors of Crap." Have you ever heard a more accurate description of modern children's movies than this:
At least once a month I take my kids to see a new "family movie"--the latest computer-generated piece of animated crap. Please don't oblige me to revisit the last one even long enough to name the film, let alone describe it. Anyway, you know the one I mean: set in a zoo, or in a forest, or on farm, or under the sea, or in "Africa," or in an effortlessly hilarious StorybookLandTM where magic, wonder and make-believe are ironized and mocked except at the moments when they are tenderly invoked to move units. I believe but am not prepared to swear that the lead in this weekend's version may have been a neurotic lion, or a neurotic bear, or a neurotic rat, or a neurotic chicken.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great background material for anyone wanting deeper insight into the male psyche without all the psychological bull.Published 12 days ago by MER
Making it through the first half was a struggle. Chabon starts off like a typical memoir, trying too hard, but quickly devolves into self masturbatory tripe. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dan
Chabon managed to write this entire book without saying anything. Nothing about manhood and nothing really about his work or live as a writer. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cinelli
Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to a book and its author is that I immediately want to share it with a friend or family member. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Stringer
Michael Chabon is such a pleasure to read. He gets you to laugh as he makes you think. I gobble up everything available by him.Published 14 months ago by nitesky
Memiors that offer insights on the recommendation for every father, son, and father to bePublished 15 months ago by BW
The title intrigued me and the sample was kinda funny. As I went through, I couldn't help thinking "what a whiner". Read morePublished 17 months ago by R. Roger Wheat
These essays on male childhood and adult life are a powerful social exposition fostered by Chabon's exceptional writing capabilities. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ryan Mease