Michael Lewis is in between—in between generations, social expectations, and his own family. Fathers used to be the adults you'd see on the weekends or for a few hours at night. They were the ultimate threat: "Just wait until your father gets home!" So how is a modern father supposed to figure out his role in his own house?
Home Game is a frank, funny, and ultimately sweet look at Lewis's adaptation to the birth of his three kids. To some observers, he's the model of an involved father, but to others—like his wife, Tabitha—he's barely treading water. In his own mind, he is basically muddling through. But by the time his third child is born, Lewis has learned some important lessons:
• Home life: If you don't see what the problem is, you are the problem. (p. 78)
• At a school function: If everyone in the room is laughing, and you don't know what they are laughing about, they are laughing about you. (p. 92)
• In the delivery room: Never underestimate your own insignificance. (p. 120)
Beneath the self-deprecating humor, we see the transformation that must take place after each birth. Lewis marvels at the almost instant bond his wife has with their babies. He finds he has to move from a kind of bewilderment to a feeling of inconvenience and finally to self-sacrificing love. And the real lesson Lewis learns is that the more involved he is as a parent, the stronger the bond and less he feels as if he were "doing the dirty work."
On this Father's Day, or any day, pour yourself a beer, turn on a ball game, and dip into this candid collection of linked essays. You probably aren't alone in that wilderness called modern fatherhood.
A video of Michael Lewis talking about Home Game with Charlie Rose can be found here.
Home Game was also reviewed at The Book Studio.
Published by WW Norton, 2009
Challenges: New Author, A-Z Title, 999, 100+