Review: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source of my copy: Blogging For Books
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

I don't watch a lot of stand-up comedy because to tell the truth I'm a bit slow when it comes to jokes. But I love watching Jim Gaffigan's standup comedies--I think I watched all of his stuff that is available on YouTube. He is one of the few comedians whose jokes I genuinely crack-up laughing because I'm able to relate to them. Hot Pockets? McDonalds? Yeah, I've been there.

I had high expectations for Dad Is Fat. I was going to be laughing and entertained all the way through. I enjoyed Dad Is Fat, there's no question about that but at the same time it wasn't the book I had in my head...

Dad Is Fat is about Jim Gaffigan's adventures, reflections and opinions about fatherhood told through essays (which were relatively short--at most four to five pages each). He goes from a loose chronological, starting when he was a single guy just looking on at his friends having babies to when he has five children of his own and taking them on the road on to his shows/family vacations.

With a title like Dad Is Fat, the book description being what it was, and the fact that when I quickly flipped through the book, almost all the pictures I saw were of kids, you'd think I'd realize that it was going to be all about fatherhood through the eyes of Jim Gaffigan. But I was expecting sort of a hodgepodge of topics, like his stand-up shows are. However, I enjoyed reading about his experiences even though I didn't laugh as much as I thought I was going to--though there were some lines I found myself chuckling. Some of my favorites were the parts about his opinions about several children's books after rereading them many, many times, the "art" children make in school and the different types of babysitters (the manny, the warm body, the college student, etc.). If you watch his shows, you'll recognize lines throughout the book from them. I thought he wrote in a way that was entertaining and the tone was fun and lighthearted but with a genuine-ness of a father who loves his children and wife very much.

Dad Is Fat can be appreciated by non-parents like myself, but I think readers with children will appreciate it all the more because they can all the more relate to his experiences and anecdotes about raising young children. Overall, it was a fun, entertaining read but not a stand-out.

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