Wednesday, January 29, 2014

[Book Review] Man vs. Child

Man vs Child
by Dominic Knight
October 1, 2013
Random House Australia
Contemporary Fiction, Humor


A witty, insightful romantic comedy, which draws on the author's experience of both the comedy world, working in radio, and being immature and childless! For fans of David Nicholls, Ben Elton and Nick Hornby. 
Dan McIntyre isn't ready to settle down. As a stand-up comedian with a career that's taking off, it was easy to walk away from his girlfriend's ultimatum: comedy or kids. 
But now he's starting to feel like he's the last man standing while all his friends are switching socialising for baby wipes. Sure, his mates are still wide awake at 3am with a bottle in their hand - but now it's for a very different reason. 
Dan reckons he spends enough time with spoiled brats in his day job wrangling a breakfast radio duo known as Bry Dynamite and Silly Sally. He can't understand why everyone's giving up their social lives for creatures who express themselves through loud, irritating noises and bodily fluids. But at least it's giving him material for a new comedy show, Man vs Child. 
Then Penny, the woman who broke his heart in high school, walks back into his life. She's newly single, and wants to reconnect with her old pal from French class - except now she has a one-year-old son...

How do you come of age when you're already past your thirties? This book will tell you how.

In this story, we find an unlikely main character in the person of Dan McIntyre. It would suffice to say that Dan is still just very much a boy in his age of 34 years old, because he resists the natural order of things and refuse to be in a relationship with marriage and family in mind.

His main dilemma is this: why would someone willingly give up nights of partying in exchange for nights in for nappies?

He's watched his friends go the same route one by one, and just couldn't understand why. On the upside, he's found great material for his stand-up comedy acts, and he's been gaining a little bit of fame for it.

Story-wise,  nothing particularly ground-breaking. Personally, I didn't find the supposedly witty remarks funny. And since the story is told from Dan's perspective, I'd have to say that I really don't like being inside his head. He had a lot of things to say and his thoughts were all over the place. When it came to the stuff he deems as important though, I think Dan has a good head on his shoulders. He's just slow to realize the value of some profound joys in life.

What I liked about this story was the part involving the breakfast show where Dan was forced to work with two seasoned DJs. Seriously, imagining all the hijinks inside their booth was fun. Bry Dynamite was an obnoxious old dog and I seriously didn't like him. As for Sally, I think that she was given very little credit although she could pretty much hold the show on her own.

The thing which really didn't work for me when I read this story was Dan's stand-up act. Watching stand-up comedy was really different from reading it. It was not as effective for me, and this was probably the reason why I wasn't able to enjoy the book as much.

All in all though, I enjoyed Dan's slow ascent to understanding the joys of having a family. In the end, the answer to Dan's dilemma is this: men wouldn't give up nights of partying if nights in for nappies didn't seriously make them happy.

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