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Family Man

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  416 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Calvin Trillin begins his wise and charming ruminations on family by stating the sum total of his child-rearing advice: "Try to get one that doesn't spit up. Otherwise, you're on your own." Suspicious of any child-rearing theories beyond "Your children are either the center of your life or they're not," Trillin has clearly reveled in the role of family man. Acknowledging t ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 30th 1999 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1998)
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I really like Calvin Trillin. His essay About Alice made me want to read more about his family. I don't always like when authors read their own work, but Trillin did a nice job reading these essays. The essays were interrelated enough to make a coherent book even though they were on somewhat disparate topics. Mostly, when I hear Trillin reflect on his life, I have to get past my own jealousy that I don't live in the West Village of Manhattan, work from home and travel around doing reporting work ...more
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, parenting, essays
This book is a collection of 16 essays by Calvin Trillin on the joys and travails of life with children. He has two daughters -- Abigail and Sarah -- and raised them with his wife Alice in Manhattan. (Although raising a family in Manhattan might make it seem like Mr. Trillin is from a rarefied world inaccessible to most of us, I found his writing to be down-to-earth, relatable and his observations about parenting to be fairly universal.) Mr. Trillin is a gifted writer, and I enjoyed reading his ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, essays
Over the years, I had read Calvin Trillin "here and there", but never read a book of his essays. Then my friend loaned me a copy of Uncivil Liberties & I decided I wanted to read more, but it became a fun game to search for Trillin at library book sales & such, rather than just ordering copies of his books or going to the regular bookstore. So Family Man is the next one I found - at a Dollar Book Store in Tigard, Oregon! (Uh, sorry, Calvin.) You have to love a man who can write so wonder ...more
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-round, humor, memoir
This was a wonderful book, one which had me a bit teary-eyed by the end. One is constantly reading/hearing of authors and celebrities who go on, ad nauseaum, about how their universe revolves around their children and spouse, when it obviously doesn't. So to read Trillin and to understand how his soul was attached to the very idea of family, well, it's darn heartening.

The love of his life was his wife, Alice, and that's when my eyes became a wee bit cloudy. Soulmates and the personification of a
May 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
I finally finished this book and have decided for sure that I like Calvin Trillin in column-format. A whole book is more than a bit much for me. He's clever and there were parts of this book about raising a family in Grennwich Village (not far from where I live currently) that made me smile and wax a bit philosophical about what choices I may make when that time comes. I also liked the description of the Village before it was taken over by Marc Jacobs and Sex-in-the-City Tours. In all though, my ...more
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
A funny, smart, charming, feeling memoir about being a father to two daughters, parenthood in general, and living as part of a family. It's too funny and pointed to be schmaltzy but it is unashamedly full of love; my experience of parenthood resonates with Trillin's perspective. In one chapter he says that when his daughters were two and five he thought they were at the perfect age and he fantasized about some kind of freezing technology, but then as the years passed "they always seemed to be at ...more
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll ready anything by Calvin Trillin (some stories repeat from his other books and essays). Favorite quotations: "Your children are either the center of your life or they're not, and the rest is commentary." and "About all you can do is pick the school whose parent body offends you the least." Above all, I'm reminded to enjoy parenting while it lasts bc it's over way too soon. Ok, I have to go cuddle my daughter now.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful collection of articles previously published in The New Yorker. I identified with them entirely. When finished, I was certain that we were in complete agreement: Before we had children, we had no idea of what we would do. When they were born, we knew that everything about our lives had changed entirely. Having watched them grow, we cant conceive of having done things in any other way.
Katie Green
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Calvin Trillin is one of the great New York journalists, more like an anthropologist exploring New York characters. He reminds me about the goodness left in New York.
This book is about his role as a father and husband within New York, balancing his daughter's trips to Chinatown with his wife's unhappiness over his view that Thanksgiving should be celebrated with spaghetti carbonara and not turkey.
Amazing food writing along with hilarious writing= easy and fun read.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
I'm smitten with Calvin, his writing, and the life he lived as co-parent with Alice in NYC. His sense of humor makes me laugh out loud when I least expect to. I particularly enjoyed Alice's economic theories and Calvin's suggestion that we change our national thanksgiving dish to spaghetti carbonara, but in general, despite his repeated protests that he doesn't want to offer parenting advice, I feel like the stories he tells offer a particularly appealing way to raise children.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm kind of in love with Calvin Trillin. I'll admit that pregnancy hormones are probably giving me extra warm fuzzies in reading a book that is essentially a love letter to fatherhood and being a husband, but he is just so darn charming and endearing that I can't help myself. While I think anyone could and should enjoy this book, I especially recommend it to those awaiting impending parenthood.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable, as indeed everything by Trillin is, and especially to the point if you are a parent. Abigail and Sarah are lucky to have had Calvin and Alice as parents, which they probably know --- what struck me particularly from this book was the idea that our time with our children is evanescent, and Trillin reminds us to enjoy every crazy moment.
David Allen
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Like Salinger's Glass family, the real-life Trillin family is precocious, its likes and dislikes closely observed and carefully limned, and sometimes the effect is wearying. This memoir of Halloween parades, holiday traditions, pets, summer vacations, Chinatown takeout excursions and more is loving and often very funny. But it's hard to relate to.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
A nice read, with reflections on family life, child rearing, the magnificence of the Halloween parade through the Village in NYC. Meant as a light, but reflective kind of short memoir, the book mainly functions as Trillin's love letter to his family and really does a nice job of it. But dude, if I had the money and work schedule, sure I'd take the summers off in Nova Scotia too.
There were two laugh-aloud moments here, but it feels like recycled material, and in the early going Calvin Trillin, previously known to me as a sometimes-snarky, astute observer of humans and delicious food, comes across as a maudlin or grumpy old man. The latter portion of the book is better. I wonder whether it's newer or unpublished material.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Trilling begins with the child-rearing theory that "Your children are either the center of your life or they're not," and then, with style, wit, and profundity, explores what it means to be "a family man." Laugh-out-loud funny at times, and a challenge to all of us who call ourselves "Dad." (There might be spillover for moms, too.)
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
awesome, erudite, well written, very enjoyable. A series of essays concerning the authors children, child rearing et al. I rarely enjoy this sort of thing, but Tillin is the exception to the rule. I highly recommend!
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Bill Bryson or Dave Barry
Shelves: own, memoir, humor, 2007
I love Calvin Trillin. He reminds me of Bill Bryson, but with more of a focus on his family (and his stomach; if anyone can beat Bryson in stomach talk, it's Trillin). A quick read, funny and sweet.
Leila Cohan-Miccio
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, essays, marriage, 2012
I've been on a huge Calvin Trillin kick lately - his essays are just so funny and so charming. I would very much like to live in his bygone New York City, where writers can afford brownstones in the Village and drive off to Chinatown to pick up the best dishes from a variety of restaurants.
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of humorous memoirs
This collection of essays on family life is humorous and light-hearted. It is a quick read and has laugh-out loud moments. It reminds me of parts of my childhood and is enjoyable to read while living in NYC. At the funnier times it reads like a tamer David Sedaris book.
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
I want to be a dad like Calvin Trillin someday - after reading his obit for his wife in the New Yorker, I've read some of his books and loved the witty, touching and powerful prose throughout. Wish I could write like him...
Feb 10, 2008 rated it liked it
When not eating his way around the world, spinning tales for The New Yorker, or writing books full of insultingly accurate limericks about Republicans, Calvin Trillin sure had some entertaining family antics.
Aug 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very funny and (he might hate this word, sorry) wise. He manages to dispense a tremendous amount of parenting advice without letting on that that's what he's doing--thank goodness, because it would kill the humor and probably make the advice unpalatable too.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Calvin Trillin's memoirs (having read all three of the ones focused on eating and food), and it was genuinely wonderful to read one that was, simply, about a family that loved each other and spending time together. Refreshing and recommended.
Barbara Rice
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the best and most personally revealing of Trillin's autobiographical books. It's a loving portrait of his family and what being a parent means ("Either your children are the center of your life or they're not").
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I prefer his poetry, but he makes valid points and it is a good read
author and poet trillin relates the comfortable joys of raising a family in well-heeled manhattan. cozy and funny.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You really can't go wrong with Calvin Trillin. Always delightful and amusing.
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Charming and readable. I just saw Calvin Trillin on the Today Show, and he is even more likable in person and it is hard to believe he is 77 because he is just so with it.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reading Calvin Trillin is like spending a lazy Sunday listening to your favorite family friend fill you in on all that's been going on.
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Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin is an American journalist, humorist, and novelist. He is best known for his humorous writings about food and eating, but he has also written much serious journalism, comic verse, and several books of fiction.

Trillin attended public schools in Kansas City and went on to Yale University, where he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and became a member of Scroll an
More about Calvin Trillin...

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