I used to have a lot of faith in humanity before the advent of the website “comment” section.
– Jim Gaffigan, Dad is Fat
Thanks to my reading group, Page Against the Machine, I’ve read a lot of memoirs by comedians lately – your Tina Feys, your Michael Ian Blacks, your Mindy Kalings. Chelsea Handler, Russell Brand, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Delaney, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Colanna. . . I see Amy Poehler in my future, is what I’m saying. Some are just essay collections designed to make you laugh, some are straight memoirs that are funnier than average, and most fall in between. Dad is Fat is an in-betweener, comical essays where some of Gaffigan’s real-life experiences seep in, but mostly it feels like reading standup material. Luckily, Gaffigan is a gifted standup.
I loved his riffs on parenting, exercise, and Disney, but he won my heart with the chapter titled “A Critical Analysis of Children’s Literature.” He mines the tedium of re-re-and-re-reading the same books over and over (although I have one child and he has five, so I really can’t compare myself) before tackling The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Five Little Monkeys, and Harold and the Purple Crayon, among others (eats his feelings, Child Protective Services failure, and blueprint [purpleprint?] for destruction, respectively). Classic. Read it aloud to a fellow booklover for extra joy.
When everyone in the group enjoys a book, it can lead to stagnant discussions. This was a case where everyone couldn’t wait to share their favorite part. It will make you smile often and laugh out loud in at least a few places, so pick it up unless you hate fun.