Tag Archives: family

Man and Boy – Tony Parsons

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The story is about a young man who is turning 30 and who destroy his previous life in a couple of days. First of all, he betrays his wonderful wife and she left him. Secondly, they fire him. The most engaging task is to take care of his 4 y. o. son, because till now he did not make anything with him and left the Whole work to his wife. The second task is to convince his new love, an American waitress with a daughter, to stay with him.

So: nothing new under the sky. But the way in wich the author describes problems and actions manages to let you feel like the carachter. This is the main reason I would suggest you to read this book: because even if you never separated, never had to care about your son, never met the hurdles of a divorce, you feel compassion for Harry Silver as you were involved in his problems.

The most touching part of the book, in my opinion, is where Harry’s father falls ill and dies. Because the protagonist finds out how much he resembled his father: and this is a feature that I notice in my life too! But you discover it just when you have a son, I fear… not earlier.

At the end: well build carachter and well Worth book!

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Winter Journal – Paul Auster

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I loved The New York Trilogy. I cannot say the same thing for Hand to Mouth. But maybe I am not the right person for Auster’s autobiographies. Actually, this is – I think – his third authobiography. He writes of himself as “you”, in second person, maybe to add some distance between him and himself.

My interest went up and down. I must admit that I did not like the lists: lists of things he did, of actions, of people… in my opinion you cannot write a page full of list. You can do it in your journal, if you keep it in your drawer… same reasoning for the lack of internal order: he writes subjects as they get his memory: from early years, to the 64th birthday, from writing, to house moving, from panic attaks to marriage, from sexual impulses to dance.

I appreciated the parts in wich he tells about his mother’s Youth and Death, and how she was despised by the “dour matrons of father’s family” because she acted as if she was the most beautiful woman on the earth. But I also liked the way in wich he remembers her, as a woman who was, at the same time, very practical, active and sensitive. And I love the doutful life she had, because the author will never know if she had a lover during her marriage or not.

At the end: no, I did not like this book very much, but if you have the change, please do read it. It is anyway a collection of memories of a man who has lived, loved, written, read, suffered and travelled a lot (Gosh, I do not know how many times he moved from a house to another: I would become mad doing that!). A little sad, maybe, because he reminds us that we will wither too, despite all our current ebullience, but anyway useful.

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Raising boys: why boys are different and how to help them become happy and well-balanced men – Steve Biddulp

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You could ask: why should I read a book about boys, after decades of female battles to avoid discrimination? Considering that women are still now far away from being on the same level of their counterparts?

Maybe, because by raising boys in the right way, we can help women and men to live together in a better way?
Actually, after all these feminist battles, boys are nowadays a little discriminated.Yes, this is not a premeditated discrimination, but we cannot deny that boys are different. Go and take a look at children in a classroom: on one side yo see girls chatting and laughing; on the other side you see boys running and screaming.

This is a brain issue, an hormon issue and a cultural issue.

Biddulph is a firm advocate of late entering of boys into school: they are slower than girls, at the beginning, because development happens in a different way. If they enter school together with same age girls, they see themselves as awkward and this has a negative influence on their future behavious and self-estime.

But the part where the author insists the most, is about the mentor.
Boy lives can be distinguished in several parts: first years (when they are strictly bound to their mothers), from 7 to 12-13 years (link with fathers) and after.

After the family, a mentor can be the solution to anticipate deviations. Mentor cannot be coeval to the boy, at the same development stage, but something older; he must be a person whom the boy trust in, maybe an uncle or a family friend, someone who doesn’t judge, but gives suggestions without let them appear like suggestions. Maybe during a fishing game or a race.

Useful book, of course.
But…
The majority of examples refer to Australian or American lifestile. For instance, here in Italy the phenomenom of very Young mother is not so widespread.
Another thing that I do not like very much, are the short stories inside the essay. And, to be mean, I really do not appreciate all drawings… they are cute, but I do not find them so necessary. This book is not meant to be ready by teenagers, but by adult parents: I hope that a 30 or 40 y.o. parent can be able to read a book without too many blanks or cartoons.

Well, ok… I must admit: if such cartoons are useful to draw people who is not accustomed to reading… ok, cartoons are welcome.

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