Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Title: Dad is Fat
Author: Jim Gaffigan
Format: Hardcover, 275 pages
Pub. Date: May 7th 2013
Source: Borrowed from Lisa

Book Description via Goodreads:

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.



2.5/5 stars.

The short version of my review is simply: Meh.

I'd been looking forward to reading this for a long time. Gaffigan is one of my favorite comedians, probably because I'm also pudgy and from the Midwest. I love his comedy, and I love books. So I assumed that naturally, I would love his book. Sadly, that's not true.

This might be because I'm not a parent. Gaffigan is from a big family, and him and his wife have more than a few kids themselves. Dad is Fat focuses on family. I thought I'd relate to it more, after all I do love my family. But because I have no intention of having kids, nor am I from a big family myself, this felt like a miss for me. I felt like this book was an outlet for him to complain about other parents and the woes of children, which I mean, a book is a perfectly valid place to do that. However, I feel like most of these gripes are brought on himself. He has five (I think?) kids in a tiny New York City apartment. So yeah, sleeping is rough. Going to the park or out is a hassle because of subways and taxis. But it's a choice to live in such a small place, in the heart of the city, so I ultimately didn't feel much sympathy or humor in the situation.

Actually, I didn't enjoy the overall tone of the book. When he does stand up (to those of you who don't know), Gaffigan does inflictions or changes his voice to make the joke hit harder. Because I had to read this myself, I couldn't hear the tone, and it mostly came of as being extremely smarmy and condescending. It felt like when you're stuck with a group of people you don't know at a party, and they are all in on some information and discuss it with laughs, leaving you clueless until you walk away. That's how this book felt- I wanted to walk away a lot of the time.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy some of it. Gaffigan's a funny guy, and I snickered here and there. I found that the funniest parts to me were in fact recycled sets that he's done in his stand up routines, which is a bit of a bummer. I liked that he talked about his own upbringing and coming up in addition to the family that he has now with his wife. I also really liked that there were illustrations and photographs in this book, I hadn't been expecting that. The family photos, kids' drawings, and blueprints helped me get through the book.

All in all, this isn't a bad book. It's just not something that I personally connected to, despite my high hopes upon opening it. If you are a parent or are from a large family, or even if you are a parent in a large city like New York, you will probably like this a lot more than I did. I laughed, but not as much as I wanted to, making this book a fairly average and slightly disappointing one.


  1. I'm bummed that this book didn't resonate with you, I was hoping it would be really good. Maybe a book all about food will be better, everyone can relate to that :)