Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Nook: Mean Dads for a Better America

Adults of all ages often talk about "the good old days" and there are plenty of memoirs that look back, for better or worse, on the way they were raised. I had a chance to review Mean Dads for a Better America, written by comedian and Fox News Network host Tom Shillue, about growing up in the 1970s, with a town that had throwbacks to stereotypical 1950s traits.

The son of a "mean dad," he recounts how this shaped him - not asking for things (although it worked for his sister), earning respect from neighborhood boys (for surviving the mean dad on the block), learning to deal with problems on his own, and more. Tom is a gifted storyteller, reminiscing about the values that he grew up with - parents feeling free to discipline any child, standing up to bullies, owning an insult to take its power away, respecting adults.

He doesn't get preachy in the book, but instead uses anecdotes to show how the parenting style he grew up with kept him well-adjusted. There's a clear respect for his parents that comes out in the book, as well as a desire to look back with a sense of humor. Whether you think past decades are a thankfully bygone era or the "gold old days," you'll likely get a kick out of his storytelling, and you can decide for yourself if it really did make a better America.

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