Synopses & Reviews
How a New York Times
editor set out to answer the peculiarly marvelous questions of his precocious young son-and wound up on an unexpected journey of his own.
Wendell Jamieson's son, Dean, has always had a penchant for...odd questions. Dad, he asked, apropos of nothing, what would hurt more getting run over by a car, or getting stung by a jellyfish? Dad, why do policemen like donuts? What's it feel like to get stabbed? Does Mona Lisa wear shoes? Can I cook my sister?
Because Dad was a newspaperman, he decided to seek out answers-and got swept up in the hunt. He spoke to movie directors and ship captains and brain surgeons and stabbing victims and lottery winners and museum curators and politicians and judges and compulsive shoppers and mothers-in-law and magicians even Yoko Ono and a dominatrix.
But what began as a lark quickly grew into something larger. Blending a charming father-son journey with the surprising, sometimes hilarious questions and answers it spawned, Father Knows Less offers a heartwarming exploration of that childlike curiosity that lives within us all.
"'Jamieson, city editor for the New York Times, whose seven-year-old son, Dean, has been in 'full-bore question mode' for the past few years, decided that the best strategy for giving Dean the answers was also to give himself a challenge. He would get each answer 'from a real person who knows it by heart, whose very livelihood depends on the knowledge' that Jamieson would present without sugarcoating or simplification. The result is a compendium of hilariously insightful questions from kids (age seven and under) with often insightfully hilarious answers from adults ranging from a doctor discussing the difference between somatic and neuropathic pain ('What would hurt more: getting run over by a car or getting stung by a jellyfish?') to a dominatrix explaining Mach 1 air speed ('If you don't hit anything with it, how does a whip make that noise?'). Jamieson helpfully organizes the questions by theme into chapters, although his introductory anecdotes to each, while amusing, should have been drastically reduced to make room for more questions. Too bad this funny and fascinating book is coming out in September: it makes a perfect Father's Day gift for any dad whose child has ever asked, 'Why is the sky blue?' or 'Why do we have eyebrows?' or 'What does 'sexy' mean?' (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
New York Times editor Jamieson set out to answer the peculiar questions of his young son and wound up on an unexpected journey of his own, in this charming father-son journey.
Kids ask the darndest questions—and the answers make for a “funny and fascinating”(Publishers Weekly) book.
Wendell Jamieson’s son, Dean, has always had a penchant for asking odd questions. “Dad, what would hurt more—getting run over by a car, or getting stung by a jellyfish?” “Dad, why do policemen like donuts?” “Dad, does Mona Lisa wear shoes?” Because Dad is a newspaperman and city editor for The New York Times, he decided to seek out the real answers to Dean’s questions from top experts—movie directors and ship captains, brain surgeons and stabbing victims, a Buddhist monk and a bra fitter, and even Yoko Ono. Their father-son journey for answers to the tough—and weird—questions of life is a sometimes surprising, often hilarious, and always fascinating celebration of the value and beauty of childlike curiosity.
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About the Author
Wendell Jamieson, city editor for The New York Times, has been a newspaperman for twenty years. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Helene Stapinski, and their two children, three-year-old Paulina and seven-year-old Dean who figures prominently in Father Knows Less.