Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces

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Fans of Michael Chabon’s novels, like Wonder Boys and Telegraph Avenue, know the writer is gifted with a precision of detail that strikes the perfect note in a given sentence, the perfect tone in a paragraph. It is the kind of laser focus that turns first-time readers into lifelong fans. Chabon’s latest book, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, features this same stylistic genius while turning toward matters more personal, namely, fatherhood.

This small collection of essays begins with a piece about taking his then thirteen-year-old son to Paris Fashion Week. Abe, the title character of “The Little Man,” is an impeccable connoisseur of clothes who feels right at home in this world, while his father—Chabon cheekily refers to himself as the boy’s “minder”—is decidedly not. The essay celebrates his son’s gift for garb while also ruminating on the gulf that exists between them and their interests. Reading it, you feel what it is to both know and not know the world around you, from both points of view.

The other six essays run the gamut from the allure of and disillusion with baseball to what it means to be cool in middle school, arguably the worst years of any human life by my estimation. But it is his essay about how his elder son should treat girls, aptly titled “Against Dickitude,” that resonated most with me. It shows not only how Chabon parents his child but also how he, as an adult, reflects on his own treatment of women throughout his life, and how he was, at times, most certainly a dick. The self-awareness in this essay is poignant, funny, and heartbreakingly honest. It is, for lifelong readers of Chabon like me, a gift.

For the men in your life experiencing fatherhood, for the women who love them, for the reader who just wants to see into the life and mind of one of America’s most gifted contemporary writers, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, is a must read.


Reviewed By:

Author Michael Chabon
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 144 pages
Publisher Harper
Publish Date 2018-May-15
ISBN 9780062834621
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Reference
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