Impending fatherhood convinces a former devotee of Easy-Bake Ovens that it's time to start learning the ways of rough-and-tumble guys. Time columnist Stein knew that he had to "man up" at least a little bit after learning that his wife Cassandra was pregnant with their first son. The author wanted to be the type of dad who plays catch with his boy, teaches him how to build campfires and tie square knots. Unfortunately for him, Stein didn't actually know how to do any of these things; hair product and home-baked goods were more in his wheelhouse. Unabashedly urbane, the author forged ahead with what proves to be a consistently hilarious and surprisingly profound crash course in manliness. Among other adventures, he raced to fires, camped in the wilderness, tracked wild turkeys and shot a powerful Army cannon. In every circumstance he was the ultimate fish-out-of-water propelled ever forward by a deep devotion to his newborn son--a reality that infuses every wild escapade with as much warmth as humor. Almost every delightfully descriptive paragraph seems to be punctuated with a wry turnaround or self-deprecating knock aimed squarely at the author's supposedly unmanly nature. Venturing so far out of his comfort zone definitely demonstrates a father's love for his son, but it also does much to reconfirm the value of masculine identity. Although Stein acknowledges the absurdity of subjecting himself to choke holds designed to render opponents unconscious, he can't help but embrace undeniable manly virtues like physical strength, camaraderie and courage--and seek to pass them on to his son. Charming, funny and life affirming.
"This is much more than a funny book, though it is that too. Beneath the humor is a wonderfully poignant exploration of the role of manliness for the 21st century urban guy. It's also a Father's Day love letter disguised as a set of adventure tales. Joel looks lovingly at both his crusty old dad and trusting infant son to reflect deeply on the lessons that we pass along from generation to generation. It made me laugh, and think, a lot."
Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs"
Many of us men in the Western world struggle with this "forced manliness"- there is a lot of pressure. For some, it is a real struggle. I have seen Joel try to chew tobacco in an attempt to prove that estrogen does not imprison his body. Looking down at his lap and bashfully wiping the remnants of spilled tobacco off his J. Crew slacks did not help his cause. The fact that he laughed at it, though, did. He caught himself trying to be manly and laughed. That is a true man." Zach Galifianakis"
I am the father only of daughters, and so didn't suffer any existential midlife panic about discovering and demonstrating my latent manliness. But I am happy Joel did, because his infant son inspired him to report and write this rare and splendid thing: an open-minded, open-hearted, bracingly honest, laugh-out-loud-funny memoir that takes life just seriously enough."
Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Heyday"
Despite his best efforts, I'm not sure if Joel Stein will ever be a man, but he made me laugh out loud trying in Man Made." Andy Borowitz, New York Times bestselling author and humorist"
Joel Stein is one of the funniest writers I've read. An incredible, hilarious saga of one man's transformation from really wimpy to just kind of wimpy." -Neil Strauss, New York Times bestselling author of The Game and Emergency"
Joel Stein's book will make you act in a very unmanly way-you will spend hours giggling like a 5th grade girl. He writes about fatherhood and son-hood with great insight, humor and, yes, even poignancy. It made me proud to share the same basic gender with him" -AJ Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically"
If Joel Stein can learn to be a man, a man in the old and rugged sense of the word, then anyone can. And that's what gives me hope. What gave me profound and dizzy pleasure, though, was reading this wild account of how he did it. I dare you to follow him on his dangerous quest and I double dare you not to laugh." -Walter Kirn, New York Times bestselling author of Up in the Air"
This entertaining and irreverent memoir will make you laugh out loud, teach you a surprising amount about various bastions of American masculinity, and leave you feeling glad that you're not married to Joel Stein." -Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife