Matt's Reviews > Manhood for Amateurs

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
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's review
Aug 14, 2010

it was amazing
Recommended to Matt by: Jared Lasonde
I own a copy

How unexpectedly pleased was I to receive this book from Jared Lasonde as a belated birthday present? Not especially pleased. Don't get me wrong, thanks for the thought Jared, but do I really want to hear Chabon whine about his man-purse? I seem to be doing pretty well in the Manhood department, and I don't appreciate Jared and Chabon ganging up on me like this and calling me an Amateur.

The pleasant surprise would have to wait for when I actually began reading.

"Manhood for Amateurs" is filled with quick-reading hilarious witty and significant essays. I read this whole book in the wake of having forgotten DFW's "Infinite Jest" (we find out in "Manhood for Amateurs" that Chabon has tried twice to read this book and failed both times? C'mon Michael), Lemire's "Essex County", and McCarthy's Border Trilogy at a friend's house far away from home, and I devoured it in the time it took to receive my 3 lost tomes in the mail. I read this entirely while on breaks at work, and found myself counting the minutes until I could go tear through 15 pages in 15 minutes on a work break (that's a tremendous reading rate for a slogger like me). Unlike my baseless preconceived notions of this book, Chabon's writing is anything but didactic. He finds a rhythmic formula (that admittedly, by book's end, can feel predictable and tired) of setting the scene of a real life event, working through feelings and such regarding said event, and arriving at a Significant Point in the last paragraph of the essay. Bythe time you're finished though, you genuinely want to hang out with Michael Chabon (as if you didn't BEFORE reading this book?), so the overall effect is one of feeling awesome, especially if it confirms and broadens (as it did for me) what it means to be a great husband, father, brother, son, man, and overall human being. Looking forward to reading Wonder Boys, which I picked up used a couple weeks ago. Thanks Jared!

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