Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffagan.

Jim Gaffagan, I can gather from several reviews from internet, is a successful standup comedian. Lately I have read many books written by standup artists. They are fun. Their language has a flow, an irreverence that cannot be matched by regular comic writers. The one issue I have with their books is that, their books tend to be made entirely from parts of their shows. So when you read the whole book, it tends to be repetitive. Their books generally will be lacking a solid structure. But they are normally fun to read. Problem is when you try to read another book of theirs, it sucks. It sucks because the humor, the jokes will be entirely similar to the previous book. Just the order in which it is told and the tone may be slightly different. All these thoughts were swarming my head when I selected the book Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffagan.

Dad Is Fat is a book about parenting. No, it is not something written to make expectant parents realize the beauty of raising kids, or essays that analyze ways to raise supermen and wonder women. It is about Jim’s experience of raising five kids, along with his wife, in a cramped two bedroom apartment in New York. The title of the book, he claims is what his daughter told him one day. It starts with a letter posthumously written by Jim to his kids, in which he explains them why, for whom and how he wrote this book. Then he recounts many of his adventures, misadventures, travels, celebrations and many other experiences with them, in the next chapters.

Jim Gaffagan’s real strength lies in self-deprecation. He calls himself fat and lazy and a really horrible dad. But it’s all done without leaving any bad taste in us. Each of his experiences are recounted quite hilariously, but at the same time with such natural flair that we never doubt if there is any exaggeration in it.  I’ve never heard any of his shows, so I’m not sure if he has repeated any of his material in this book. His humor is very simple, without any word play or any unnecessary criticisms towards others. It’s clean and sober and that is a welcome change from other such books that I’ve read in the past.

I was really entertained by this funny account of parenting. The book is a quick read and as I told before, never turns bitter. I will recommend this one to all readers who love something that is easy and fun to read without much negativity to others.


  1. I am going to pick this one. Last Thursday I saw a live stand up comedy show. It was so much fun. Some Indian guys are really talented.

  2. Sounds good! I've seen this around the web, will be sure to pick it up next time I see it. I don't usually like any books written by celebrities, they rarely live up to all the hype - though I can't say I've read books by stand-up comedians. I guess humour is very different live and on paper, so few can manage to transcribe their hilarity into their books.