Thursday, June 4, 2009

“Home Game” by Michael Lewis

“Home Game” by Michael Lewis
New York Times

Michael Lewis’s “Home Game” is meant for the man who has everything — including a grudging attitude toward raising his own children. Affecting a curmudgeonly stance that owes something to Professor Henry Higgins, Mr. Lewis writes of how he deigned not just to let a woman into his life, but also three children.

While his wife figures only tangentially in the book, is given scant credit for her efforts and is referred to as “incubator of the source material,” the children become the center of Mr. Lewis’s universe, much to his initial horror. “Maternal love may be instinctive,” he writes, with a touch of candor in a book that is otherwise gruffly facetious, “but paternal love is learned behavior.”

“Home Game” is about Mr. Lewis’s learning process. Based on a series of columns he wrote for Slate, the book frames a series of anecdotes about child rearing in terms well suited to Father’s Day. (Four years ago Mr. Lewis hailed that holiday with a conveniently timed book about his high school baseball coach.) No greeting-card saccharine here: Mr. Lewis manages to work business, baseball and golf references into stories about his children’s behavior. And no analogy is too manly to be out of place. When he takes his oldest child to school so that his wife and new baby can sleep, he writes, “I am the good soldier who has leapt on the hand grenade, so that others may live.”

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