Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #51: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

I was looking for another light comedic memoir to listen to on Audible, and this was perfect. It’s light but not fluffy, sweet but not saccharine, clean but not simple or boring. Yes, it is, as he says, ‘family friendly,’ but that doesn’t mean that it’s for you to listen to with your kids.

There are just a couple of problems with the book; it feels a little short, and it isn’t as linear as I would like. I do recognize that it’s a comedy book, and not a straight-up memoir, but the last chapter especially felt like it belonged somewhere else.

The stories Mr. Gaffigan tells are entertaining. The book revolves around his life as a father, but it opens with a story about travelling to the Grand Canyon while still childless, with a couple who had a newborn. It’s a great start, because it relates Gaffigan to the childless without making him sound patronizing when he later tells his stories involving parenthood. He recognizes the differences in the pre (or no) child life and the parent life.

From there he moves on to talking about the different ways that having children has affected his life. He has five kids in a two-bedroom NYC apartment, so he clearly has a lot to say on the matter. There are some great one-liners – like his description of a place that isn’t kid friendly: “I always think man, this place must be awesome, let’s get a sitter.” He also takes on sexism and pregnancy, pointing out the absurdity of people acting surprised or bummed when extremely attractive women get pregnant. Like, why wouldn’t they want to have kids?

I am not having children, so believe me when I say that non-parents and parents alike can enjoy this book. There is some excellent social commentary in there, such as when he delves into why people feel the need to comment on the number of children people have. I’m not an asshole, but it’s still a good reminder of what not to say to people when they tell you they’re having a kid.

I highly recommend the audio version, because you get to enjoy Gaffigan’s stellar delivery.

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