Home Game

Just finished Michael Lewis’s memoir, Home Game. It is hilarious. Truly. Irreverent, honest, and just laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a quick read and I highly recommend it. Lewis’s dedication, to his children, sets the tone: “If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t do it.”

Any chapter that begins with “My main ambition when my wife went into labor was to be sober” instantly wins my heart. This man is my people. As the delivery of his second child nears, Lewis says “For the past two years and eleven months I have been on the wrong end of a story called ‘How My Husband Was Loaded When My Baby Was Born.’ I promised myself I’d do better this time. It was my last chance.” I am laughing hysterically by this point.

He lovingly teases his wife. In particular I liked this passage about her obstetrician: “When he is around, Tabitha feels, rightly, that she is in more capable hands than her own. This, for her, counts as an unusual experience.”

His stories are numerous, detailed, and frank. He admits that it took a while before he “felt about my child what I was expected to feel,” describing “tenderness and a bit of theoretical affection” that grew over time to full-blown love. He describes the sheer horror of an overnight at Fairyland (a “toddler Disneyland”) with his three year old. He mentions learning that the teachers at school laughed at the way he dressed his older child. He is confused by this, telling his wife, “She looks fine when I dress her.” Tabitha responds, “She looks like a street person.”

Lewis’s analogies are as wonderful as his stories. He likens being a father as being a slightly distant chairman of a company “allowed to sit at the head of the table but never actually listened to,” with the mother as the hands-on CEO. When the second baby is born, the CEO is “diverted by a difficult acquisition in a foreign country. The chairman is, however briefly, in charge. Everyone else is anxious.” He uses Mardi Gras as a teaching occasion for his girls, an opportunity to show them “how to compete in the more ferocious sectors of our nation’s economy.”

Oh, my, Michael Lewis can write. His language is direct, never flowery, but always elegant.

This book is a good one. Run don’t walk to buy it. I’m adding it to my short list of favorite books about parenting (all of which are, no accident, memoirs rather than how-to books).