I didn’t think I’d like The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff.
For one thing, it’s written by a man. No offense, but 90% of the books I read are written by women. I don’t consciously gravitate toward women authors; it just sort of/kind of happens.
**Note: Please don’t confuse The Daddy Diaries book with The Daddy Diaries blog by the cowboy-hat-wearing, big-buckled dude Stoney, which isn’t a bad blog in its own right, just not the “Daddy” I’m talking about right now.
Back to Braff’s book. I LOVED it. Can I repeat that? I LOVED it.
Here’s the overview I
stole borrowed from Braff’s Website:
“The Daddy Diaries is a humorous and poignant novel about a relationship between a stay at home dad and his two preteen kids. When his wife goes to work full time in a beach town in Florida, Jay must acclimate to life in the south. With a rich but stupid older brother, a lunatic townie friend and a teen son who’s ready to know what a “threesome” is, Jay’s world is thrown about as far as California to Florida.”
It isn’t the book I loved so much as Braff’s voice, which is funny and matter-of-fact, self-deprecating and real and honest. There is n underlining quirkiness that immediately hooked my attention, reeled me in and cemented me to the page.
So much about The Daddy Diaries is unique, including the chapter/diary entry subtitles, which are fresh and breezy: “Friday, Hot, muggy, like Africa in August” and “Tuesday: Lightning touches the ground eleven times in eight minutes.”
And the writing! I couldn’t resist reading passages, such as this, over and over, wishing I had thought of writing them myself: “I’ve decided the lizards outside my house are reincarnated felons of white crime.”
How can you not want to read more?
The book flows with a nice rhythm, the writing never becomes old or tired (though there is one section where a group of friend visits and the names/relationships become a big foggy) and the surprising verve of Branff’s voice keeps the reader engaged, and wanting more.
Yet it’s the obsessiveness of this voice that readers will warm to, and the fluttery manner in which Jay worries about his wife, his son (his poor son, caught in the early, startling stages of adolescence!), how he fights the boredom of being a full-time spouse, how he sometimes resents his wife’s outside career life, and how he eventually forges a heartbreaking and bittersweet relationship with an old high school friend’s daughter (complete with his #79 notebook).
Another line I loved and must mention: “There’s something heroic about forgetting or ignoring the past and all that swirls in one’s memory. Time is better spent getting down to the marrow of your moment, your self, your taste buds.”
Yes, yes and yes!
Braff has added a voice unique to men’s fiction, a househusband who flails between masculinity and softness, who folds laundry and cooks dinner and worries about whether his son has any friends at school. A man who views the world from an odd and refreshing stance, who worries over complicated issues and thoughts and yet watches The Princess Bride with his daughter and father-in-law.
I high recommend The Daddy Diaries and can’t wait to read a sequel. (Please, please, please, Joshua, write a sequel, okay? Begin writing, like, right now.)
Here’s the link to The Daddy Diaries Kindle version. As of this writing, it’s priced at $3.49, a huge bargain for such a great read.