"At last, people in the publishing industry have been listening. This season has seen the birth of what I think it's fair to call a new subgenre in literary nonfiction: Call it 'dad lit,'" writes author Judith Warner on her TimesSelect blog "Domestic Disturbances" today. According to Judith, we should all be rejoicing about the publication of books like Neal Pollack's Alternadad because this trendlet means that men and women are now equal, at least in the realm of being allowed to write narcissicistic parenting memoirs. Whee! But some commenters on her post, which mentions her weepy response to passages from Alternadad, aren't as enthusiastic about Neal and his work.
"I read an excerpt of Neal Pollack's book and felt sorry for his child," writes "Fran." "It was all about Neal ... [It] saddened me and in no way did I connect with it emotionally as a parent. I think it might have more to do with parenting styles than gender." Sounds about right!
Other commenters, though, are far less... sane. "Come on Fran how funny it is that you read only an excerpt and condemn the entire work as narcissistic and purely self-centered? ...You still married - or was your ex-narcissistic too?" hisses "Fo3."
And: "Undertaking the responsibilities of fatherhood is close to insane in today's anti-male society with easy divorce resulting in crushing financial burden falling on men and the almost certain loss of day-to-day contact with the children," says "MARK KLEIN, MD." Yikes. (He comments a lot on Times blogs, by the way! Weird!)
More yikes! "All I can add here is that these past four years of being home when the kids get home from school have not been what I expected. I find myself irritable a lot of the time, looking for a place to hide in the house so I can get one train of thought headed in the right direction. We added on to our house to give me a home office/retreat, and that was a struggle between me and my wife, who doesn't understand my need for solitude," says "CHE," who then continues on at length. Attention, publishing industry! Is this guy your new dad-memoir superstar? It sure seems like he needs an outlet.
Or maybe there isn't a market for CHE's whining, after all: "Hi CHE, Invisible is good. It teaches you that you are not the center of the universe. It's a kind of enlightenment, all too rarely experienced by alpha males in our society. Count yourself fortunate that you are learning to live with it. In time you will even embrace it," says "Shannon."
Is it just having children that makes people bonkers, or is it something to do with Neal Pollack? We're going to have to go with "both."