04 August 2011

Manhood for Amateurs, by Michael Chabon

I do not love Chabon's fiction, but I am generally interested in people's ideas about manhood, and I heard an interview with Chabon on Fresh Air that I really enjoyed, so... I bought this book for my boyfriend for Christmas, and then borrowed it. I've been reading it slowly, every so often enjoying a chapter before bed (they're very short, so it works quite well), and that may be the best way to do it. Some parts are much less compelling than others; occasionally he comes across as somewhat angsty or just not that interesting, but others are kind of heartwarming and nice, and overall, it's an enjoyable series of brief pieces about life, relationships, parenting, etc. I particularly appreciated the reflections on gender, probably because they line up with my own, but they also tended to be the funnier moments in the book. There were also some really lovely discussions of love, relationships, and marriage. Nothing in this book was especially mind-blowing, or really changed the way I see the world - at it's best, it articulated things I agree with in appealing, sometimes thought-provoking ways. I'd guess that it would appeal most to people over 25, but not too much older. Probably (hopefully) by the time you hit your mid-30s, you've figured most of this out already. It's a good book to be reading when you're kind of still processing various aspects of adulthood, but have already understood enough about the world to enjoy his perspective.

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