[ Read an excerpt of the book on the Sojo blog – “The Pee Stick” ]
I am so glad that I was invited to read this book, because frankly it’s not the sort of book that I would have picked up on my own. Memoirs are simply not a genre that I go out of my way to read. But, this one is different. Christian Piatt‘s uncensored account of the pregnancy and birth of their second child is absolutely hilarious! Any dad, or any family, will get some good hearty laughs as Piatt gets the qualms and joys of pregnancy and parenting just right. Much of the comic relief comes by way of the Piatt’s wunderkind preschooler, Mattias. Piatt launches into each chapter with a gutbusting quote from Mattias (For instance, Chapter Two begins “It smells like daddy in here. It smells like poop.” — Mattias, 2 years 11 months). The Piatts’ family story is the raw, unfiltered stuff of life in the twenty-first century: the anxieties, the comedy, the frustrations, all rolled into a book. Other reviewers have compared Pregmancy to Anne Lamott and, in content and style, this book is a sort of Operating Instructions for Dads (with a spouse and precocious son thrown into the mix).
As enjoyable a read as Pregmancy is, there is also a compelling and serious story here (and this is where the book is tangentially-related to the Slow Church work we are doing). In a world where dads are all too often absent (or absent-minded), where our concepts of Dad are shaped by Homer Simpson or Archie Bunker, it’s refreshing to hear the story of a dad who is attentive and engaged in family life. These sorts of stories are, by and large, missing from our social imaginations. One of the primary scriptural images of the church is the family, and how can we expect to be healthy, engaged members of our churches if we cannot even be so in our families? The Piatt family’s story — and all the anxieties and struggles that they face along the way — points us in this direction.
This might sound like a silly marketing ploy, but seriously, Pregmancy is the perfect Father’s Day gift. Dads don’t need another tie or the latest electronic gizmo. Buy a case or two and give them out to the Dads in your church. This funny, engaging book comforts us in knowing that we are not alone in our fears and struggles as Dads, and at the same time challenges us with the joys of becoming more deeply engaged the life of our families, the benefits of which will be felt well beyond the bounds of our homes, in our churches and our neighborhoods.