Buy “Manhood for Amateurs The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son (Audible Audio Edition) Michael Chabon, HarperAudio Books” Online
I’ve just recently discovered Michael Chabon. .. very insightful, hugely hilarious, great writing. I believe you will enjoy! Check it out!
Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son Audiobook – Unabridged Michael Chabon (Author, Narrator), Review
If I were just ten or fifteen years younger I’d probably have given this book 5 stars (vs the 4 I assigned). Because the truth is this guy is so hip and knowledgeable about all things related to pop culture of the past thirty years or so, that, quite frankly, there are references here I probably didn’t “get” at all. I probably could have researched some of this stuff online, but I didn’t, so I stayed uncomfortably in the dark here and there. And I was okay with that, honest. I have only read one other Michael Chabon book, his first novel, Mysteries of Pittsburgh – probably 15 or 20 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, I was younger then. The thing is, I seem to have gotten so much older since then; Chabon has only aged at about half-speed while I was full-speed ahead. Or so it seemed as I was reading these lovely essays. And they really are wonderful examples of writing – wise, witty, funny, moving and just plain GOOD, ya know? But what impressed me the most were the things he had to say about his mom and dad, who divorced when the author was only 11 or 12, and yet he still has such loving things to say about both of them, and how much he owes to them. So many children of divorce tend to whine about how awful it was for them and blame all their problems on them. Not Chabon. He figures he owes his slight OCD tendencies to his dad, who was a collector and a man of eclectic and idiosyncratic interests. Now Chabon is that kind of man, and is passing the excitement of such interests along to his own children. He even appreciates his mom’s ex-boyfriends, who filled certain voids for him while they were around. He credits his mom with turning him into something of a cook and baker, because she was working, and left him to feed the family. There’s other stuff like that in here, but the thing is he so obviously STILL LOVES his mom and dad. His brother, five years younger, also gets some print here. Same thing. The guys seem to genuinely LOVE each other. He even has kind things to say about his first wife and his first father-in-law. This is a guy who confesses to being perhaps too much of an optimist for most of his life, who is made content and happy by simple things. How can you not like a guy like this. His devotion to his wife and four children shine through almost everything he says about them in these pieces, though he is brutally honest about how they all function – or don’t – as a family. I am a person who reads encyclopedically and in great volume. For the first 50 years or so of my reading life I read mostly fiction. Now I read a bit more non-fiction, mostly memoirs. This book, Manhood for Amateurs, is probably about as close as you’ll get to a memoir by Chabon. And maybe it’s enough. What a talent this guy has!In one essay, “I Feel Good About My Murse,” it hit me why I like this guy and his writing so much. He talks about wishing for a bag to carry his stuff in and finally getting one, a man-purse, or ‘murse. ‘”It holds my essential stuff, including a book – for true contentment, one must carry a book at all times . ..”There it is. Chabon loves books. Me too. Now I know I’m gonna have to start reading his other novels. I know my son has the one that won the Pulitzer, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I’ll start with that one. Or maybe first I’ll try his other collection of essays – the one about books and writing, called Maps and Legends. Damn! My to-read list just keeps growing. Ain’t life grand? – Tim Bazzett, author of BOOKLOVER -Read Reviews-
Anyone who reads Details magazine will recognize many of the essays in this collection as they first appeared there. Even so, it is great to have them collected in one place and a pleasure to read them again. Chabon really is a strong prose stylist, especially in the essay form. The best thing about these essays is how much they ring true, particularly to a man of Chabon’s generation. The flexibility of fact and truth is problematic in his other essay collection, Maps and Legends, but here, almost everything hits close to home. Essentially, these essays center on what it means to be a man in all his incarnations in 21st century America. All of them are engaging but some were real high points. In “William and I” he takes off from a complement on being a good father to discuss how the standards for good fatherhood are still low compared to what it takes to be considered a good mother. In “I Feel Good About My Murse” his muses over getting a bag in which to carry all his stuff. In “The Amateur Family” he reclaims the meaning of the word amateur to describe his efforts to bring up four children as “geeks”. Along the way he also talks deeply about his own childhood, his experiences as a divorced/remarried man, and his writing career, among other things. Overall, there’s hardly a sour note in the book. It is an excellent and easy read, particularly for a man of a certain age (and the women who want to know him better).