Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lying to Children

Title:  Lying to Children
Author:  Alex Shahla
Publication Information:  Fitzwilde LLC. 2017. 344 pages.
ISBN:  0997796529 / 978-0997796520

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Dear Annabelle and Peter, Not all books start at the end, but this one does."

Favorite Quote:  "Never forget, I love you just as much on your worst day as I do on your best day."

This book had me laughing on page 1, and I really did not stop until the end. The book defines itself on its first page:  "This is my side of the story. On day when you tell your future significant others, children, or therapists what horrible parents your mother and I were and how we ruined your lives, this book might help to exonerate us. It's what people who make mistakes call 'context.' And I've made plenty of mistakes, so I'm definitely in need of a lot of content. What follows is a series of vignettes - let's call them explanations for my actions, which often lack reason and always lack foresight - of what really happened while your mother and I were raising you."

What are the "lies" parents tell their children? In this book they cover the range of childhood. Daddy loves his job. If I kiss it, it will make it better. If you put a tooth under your pillow, a magical fairy will bring you money. The dog went to live on a farm with your goldfish where they'll have more room to run around. The doctor is not going to hurt you. I'm happy you moved out of the house and are going to college. These are some of the fifteen "lies" around which this book is based. As the beginning of the book suggests, each one can stand alone, like a collection of essays with a memoir like quality. That makes this book easy to pick up and put down. It also makes it more challenging to read all the way through quickly because there is a similarity to all the vignettes. Individually, they are all funny and fun to read so treat it as more a collection of stories and less a book to be read start to end.

So, my context in reading and reviewing this book. I am a parent and have personally lived through stories such as these. So, I totally relate to the parent in the book. I have my own stories of my children's childhoods and the things we did or did not do as parents to keep them safe and happy and to raise them into decent human beings. It continues to be a work in progress.

What I really appreciate about the book is the repeated refrain of love throughout the book. The words "I love you" are repeated often. The feeling is reflected in all the myriad of things this father is willing to do for the joy of his children. That again is something I totally relate to, and that I hope my children always see. Underlying everything - whether it be silliness, fun, anger, disappointment - is unconditional love.

Interestingly, I enjoy this book as a parent, but I plan on sharing it with my children. I think adult children, even those who are not parents themselves, will see and appreciate the humor in the other side of the story. Finding a book that appeals to me and that I think will also appeal to my children is always a wonderful thing. Book discussions sometimes spur the best conversations that go far and beyond the book, and it is always joyful to find laughter to share. That is no lie.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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