A New York Times Notable Book for 1998
Synopses & 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 the special perils to the privacy of people living with a writer who occasionally remarks, "I hope you're not under the impression that what you just said was off the record," Trillin deals with the subject of family in a way that is loving, honest, and wildly funny.
"Calvin Trillin is like an old shoe. Whatever he may be writing about, he always makes you want to slip in to it and get comfy...few tricks are more difficult for the journalist to pull off." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Calvin Trillin comprehends the exuberance of exasperation precisely....Though he styles hyimself a master of complaint, he's truly the master of appreciation, in whose hands a hamburger can become a divine object. It's hard to think of another writer who so consistently manages to be acerbic without being mean, a literary Houdini act that has won Trillin legions of readers." Suzanne Berne, The New York Times Book Review
"What you take away from Family Man are the dependable joys of Trillin's prose those clean, wry, perfectly constructed sentences and his bedrock sense of what parenthood is all about." Dwight Garner, Newsday
"The usual humorous suspects (pets, schooling, spousal differences, and diapers) are covered nicely with the author's accustomed aplomb....The commentary is all nimble and easygoing, almost coasting for a clever wordsmith. He lives up to the book's title." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] very charming and funny book....His style seems effortless and conversational, and the stories he tells are wry and entertaining rather than cloying or sentimental." Elijah Wald, The Boston Globe
"A short celebration of the wonderfulness of family life...genial, generous and unstoppably wry." Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
"Trilling's charming essays present a loving, idealized, funny view of parenthood, a hindsight look which transforms with humor the most anxious occasions, for instance when you hear too late that you should have talked to your infant during those vital first few months." Diane Johnson, New York Review of Books
About the Author
is the author of nineteen previous books. He writes a weekly column for Time
and a weekly poem for The Nation
. He lives in New York City.