six years two months ago, I agreed to do a book review for a friend. His name is Chris Mancini. He had just published his first book and was looking to get the word out about it. His publisher sent me the book, which I quickly devoured, and I promised a prompt review. And then somehow, all the free time that I envisioned I had to write the review just slipped away. Kinda like that Steve Miller song.
Chris, other than being a comedian and a writer, is also eternally patient. He didn't nag me a single time for my review of his book, even though it's been a month since I've finished reading it and over a week since I promised ("at the latest, I swear!") to have this review finished. I have a list of excuses, should you want to read them, but I figured I've stalled enough. At long last, I'll just get right down to it.
His book is called "Pacify Me". The tagline says that it's a "Handbook For The Freaked-Out New Dad", but I'm going to make a suggestion to the publisher to get that changed. I think it should read "A Handbook for EVERY New Dad." Every guy who learns that he is going to be a father for the first time is going to be freaked out, whether he admits it or not. This book offers a lot of hard-won information from someone who has been there, survived, and wants to help a brother out.
To be brief, I found the book informative and enlightening, hilarious and sarcastic, honest (at some points brutally so) and heartfelt. It is well written, it progresses in a comfortable manner, and I couldn't think of anything he left out that I was still curious about. It was an easy and fun read, and I enjoyed the laughs and random pop-culture references. Perhaps most importantly, it wasn't at all the self-help book that I feared it would be.
When guys are in a situation that they know nothing about, such as the unique and tumultuous experience that is pregnancy and the consequent fatherhood, we get apprehensive towards someone offering advice, because everyone is offering it. We shut down a little, and wouldn't think to pick up a book to learn how to process what is going on, or to find out what to expect while she's expecting. We're going to be just as (okay, more) unsure as to exactly how to proceed as she is, but we'll be too stubborn to do anything about it.
When he eventually smartens up and wants to read a book about fatherhood, he'll want a book written from one regular guy to the next, from a regular guy's perspective. Something that combines humor with knowledge, and something that doesn't require constant reference to Wikipedia to understand. Thanks to Chris, that book has finally been written.
If I could urge every father-to-be to put aside their ego for a day or two and read just one book, it would be this one. As a guy who is not yet a father and finds the idea of fatherhood frightening, this book helped me. It really put things in perspective and make the whole process seem less daunting.
And for that, Chris, my wife and her biological clock thanks you.
You can find "Pacify Me" in bookstores now, or on Amazon.com.