Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fat, Forty and Fired

Nigel Marsh ran an advertising firm in Australia and seemed to have a reasonably successful life. Until he realizes that he has become insulated from his 4 young children, undergoes surgery for an anal fistula, and loses his job in a corporate merger. Standard fare for another 'middle-age man regains his personal values by becoming a stay-at-home-dad' book. Except: Nigel Marsh is very, very funny. And I identified with some of his less than stellar parenting moments. His description of dropping his two young boys off at school had me laughing so hard I was crying (I have a lot of empathy for anyone dealing with a 6-year old's sense of time). In addition to his increased involvement with his family, his goals of personal transformation extend to his overweight body and his drinking. Impending poverty, physical pain and alcoholism aren't the usual ingredients for a funny book, but Marsh seems to go through life with a mixture of slapstick comedy and wry observations. His kids aren't obnoxious, his wife isn't a shrew, and there is no underlying current of "Aren't I wonderful for turning my back on my career and helping to wash the dishes?". In fact, I give Marsh high points for realizing - eventually - why his wife doesn't want to thank him each time he gets the girls dressed for school. As a non-swimmer (I can keep myself alive in the water, barely), I also enjoyed his descriptions of training for the 2-mile Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim. Since he could only swim half a pool length to begin with, there was plenty of room for improvement. This isn't War and Peace, and it's not a guide for changing your own lifestyle, but it's a fun read.

No comments: