A Review of a Review of Alternadad:
I have nothing but respect for Neal Pollack. That's why I haven't read his book. In fact, according to the sites I've been to lately, I may be the only dad under 45 that hasn't read it.
That's okay. I'm going to see him speak on Friday, and I'll have read it by then. I don't want to look like a total ass. Again.
Why haven't I read it? I have reasons. First, I too, have a book in the works about being a dad in the "now", and I don't want to be influenced- or worse, have others claim I was influenced, by Alternadad. However, since the latter is most likely inevitable whether I actually read the book or not, I may as well. I hear it's great.
Second, Pollack has ties with McSweeny's, and I am a bit jealous in that regard. Back when I thought Dave Eggers was the second coming I couldn't get much more than a short email from the guys at McSweeny's saying that they weren't interested in my writing. They didn't even email that much when I sent in nude photos. What? I took a chance.
I do enjoy Pollacks writing, regardless of the slight his buddy Eggers slapped upon me, and I do enjoy being a dad. Hence, I will read the book. Hence, I am awaiting approval to be added to Alternadad's friends list on MySpace. By the way, it's really hard to type with my fingers crossed.
Perhaps you are wondering how I can write a review of a book that I haven't even read. First of all, I can't imagine I would be the first to do so, and B) I'm not. I'm writing a review of a review. Of course I can do that, this is America.
Christopher Noxon, he of Rejuvenile fame, wrote a nice piece for the L.A. Times Book Review section. The only section, I might add, besides the comics and Circuit City ad, that I read front to back (except for the parts I skip, like romance novels and Cathy).
The review was upbeat and appreciative. Noxon bought what Pollack was selling. If you're Neal Pollack you just sold a hundred more books. If you're Christopher Noxon, you may have just sold a few extra copies of your own creation as well.
I suppose that is the issue that spurred this post. It seems at times times that Noxon forgot what he was there for, and used the forum he had been allotted to exercise his own muscles. I'm sure most critics do so. I know I do (e.g., see that funny part about my fingers being crossed).
There's nothing wrong with doing so, assuming said muscles can carry the load. I'm not sure his did.
It was the ending. He ended the article by discussing the possibility of the next generation being pushed to Alex P. Keaton-esque extremes due to the leftness of the current parenting culture (the hip one anyway), which is a very valid view. Then he closed with this, "In other words, if you dress your kids in Sex Pistols onesies, will they grow up Republican?"
Again, nothing wrong with the question (my answer? I really hope not!), but the thought felt incomplete. Perhaps Noxon meant for me to put the paper down, take a sip of coffee and think, really ponder the outcome and consequences that might arise from putting my kids to bed with an Iron & Wine CD. I'm guessing that was his goal, but all it did was leave me feeling empty and unsatisfied, much like my wife on any number of occasions (sorry Honey). I looked to the next page, nothing. I looked for a "continued on...", but once again, nothing. It came up short (I said I'm sorry).
Yet, even as I sit here, being a hypocrite and flexer of puny guns, I can't help but feel a tinge of "what's next?". Could it be that is what Noxon intended, and only now, after dragging his good name through the mud, do I finally get it?
The important thing is that he liked the book. I plan to like it too.
In all fairness, I was not familiar with Christopher Noxon prior to this post, and having browsed his site(s), he appears to have some cool stuff going on in his own right. Check him out. Hell, I might write a review of his book.