For anyone who wants a good laugh about some of the crazy truths of kids and parenting, “Dad is Fat” might be just the ticket. Author, comedian and father of five Jim Gaffigan tells it like it is without that polite, public filter so many of us use when we talk about being parents. The result is an honest, funny commentary on the joys, frustrations and mystifying realities of raising kids.
Mr. Gaffigan is probably best known for his stand up routine during which he sings the praises of hot pockets and jokes about his kids. Lately, he’s been on TV a lot in commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica. This is kind of ironic because, at least when this book was written, he and his wife and five kids live in a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan and don’t own a car. Hopefully he earned enough money from those commercials to get a bigger apartment because who in their right mind lives in a two bedroom apartment with five kids??
Actually, Gaffigan gets a lot of comedic mileage out of his living situation. In one chapter he even diagrams the complex sequence of events that he and his wife, Jeannie, follow to get their five young kids to bed every night, ending with, “Then Jeannie and I can watch television or read for exactly one minute before they all wake up and come into our bed. Curtain.” He also jokes about the high turnover of downstairs neighbors, theorizing that they are fleeing from the noise his family generates. And, because they have no backyard, they have to take their kids to public playgrounds that the Gaffigans have tagged with nicknames like “Injury Park” and “Kidnapper Paradise.” This especially made me laugh because my husband and I also had nicknames for playgrounds, but they were along the lines of “Eagle Park” and “Little Park.”
Nothing appears to be off limits in “Dad is Fat.” Gaffigan pokes fun at birthday parties, attending church with small kids, pretentious parents, peanut allergies, children’s literature, and, most of all, himself and the behavior of his young kids. Even though his career and place of residence is quite different from mine, and probably most of the people who read this book, his insights prove that parenting experiences are like having a common language. And I especially appreciate that he verbalizes what a lot of us are thinking but would never say out loud. Parenting can be a wild, sleep deprived ride, and kids often seem like loud little alien life forms, but in the end, of course, we love our kids. You can tell Jim Gaffigan loves his kids, but he also tells them candidly, “since you’ve come into my life, you’ve been a constant source of entertainment while simultaneously driving me insane.” What parent hasn’t thought that before? Come on! Be honest!
I recommend “Dad is Fat” for its insightful humor. Plus, its short, blog-like sections make it a quick, easy read. Now I’m going to go Google Jim Gaffigan to see if he got a bigger apartment!