A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son by Michael Ian Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reading a book written by a comedian, you really don’t know what to expect. Is it going to be funny, intelligent, worthwhile? Or will it be just like how a comedian makes a name for themselves, a joke? I was happy to find out that Michael Ian Black is not only a funny man, but an insightful and talented writer.
Written as a letter to his eldest son, now college age, you not only get an abridged memoir from Black, but an eloquent prose of the dos and don’ts of being “a man” in today’s society. I enjoyed seeing his tenderness and sincerity as he shared about his own parents and upbringing, to his first moments as a father and how he has applied what he has learned, and continues to learn, to his own parenting style. As a woman, I appreciate what he is teaching his son in regards to women and girls, how to clearly establish boundaries and then respect those boundaries. How it isn’t sacrificing your “man card” by doing those things, or showing vulnerability, or anything not normally equated with traditional masculinity, but necessary for someone to be a well-rounded and caring individual.
Books written in this style often have a tendency to ramble or rabbit trail, but the vision and path of this story is well laid out and easy to follow. Examples are carefully considered and relevant. Chapters are the perfect length to be engaging, not drawn out and stagnant. The advice given is sound and this is one of those books that you want to stock up on and give to every new parent, or parent of a teen, or really anybody, because I learned a lot from what he had to say, from racism, feminism, toxic masculinity, love, and so on.
Finishing this book I came away with a renewed sense of hope for the coming generation, if only they can be taught what can be found within the pages of this book.
Thank you, Algonquin Books, for the copy of this book. The opinions are my own.
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