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Paternity pains Someone Could Get Hurt'

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Parenthood memoir offers plenty of laughs

We all have writers whose work we enjoy. Whether they are novelists, biographers, historians or bloggers, everyone who reads has writers who resonate with them for whatever reason. And if one of your favorites writes something new, you check it out even if the subject matter isn't necessarily what you would expect.

My familiarity with Drew Magary springs primarily from his columns on the sports blog Deadspin and to a lesser extent his work as a correspondent for GQ. One of Magary's regular Deadspin features is a segment he calls 'Dadspin,' in which he relates the trials and tribulations of parenthood in his own wildly funny and impeccably profane voice. 

Despite my utter lack of anything resembling a child, I loved 'Dadspin' it was the style that I so enjoyed being used to express something real. It was perhaps inevitable that a book would follow, and indeed it did 'Someone Could Get Hurt' (Gotham Books, $25).

Magary turns parental memoirist for this offering, delving deep into the inner workings of not only his own life, but the lives of his family. Few punches are pulled as Magary offers up a curseword-laden paean to the life of the 21st-century father. Because make no mistake no matter how many complaints are uttered, no matter how much anger and sadness are expressed, there is never one iota of doubt that Drew Magary loves his family fiercely and deeply. 

And he very much loves being a father.

That isn't to say, however, that he doesn't make us laugh long and loud when sharing thoughts and anecdotes from his personal maneuvering of the parental minefield. Whether he's offering up disdain for the Gymboree or jealousy of the rapport the pediatrician seems to have with his kids, Magary is expressing the kinds of molehills that can easily become mountains when looked at through his paternal lens. His daughter loves poop jokes and wants to be a princess until she doesn't. His older son delights in urinating in hot tubs and shouting things that sound like but aren't cursewords.

But there are other facets to parenthood. Facets that aren't nearly as funny. So when Magary offers up a lengthy chapter about his arrest for DUI, we get to see a man who is finally forced to come to terms with the personal responsibilities that come with fatherhood. And his relation of the story of his third child's initial struggles with life and the weeks he and his wife spent in the NICU is the sort of writing that somehow warms and wrenches the heart simultaneously.

What makes 'Someone Could Get Hurt' such an enjoyable read even for someone who isn't a parent is the unabashed honesty on every page. Every child bounces back and forth between the ridiculous and the sublime often from minute to minute. Magary captures that vacillation wonderfully. And every parent has moments of triumph and moments of frustration sometimes back-to-back. He captures that, too. His triumphs are our triumphs. And his frustrations well, his frustrations are awfully entertaining, not least because they are happening to him and not us.

Magary's style packed with snark and swearwords isn't for everyone. But the truth is that 'Someone Could Get Hurt' is both hilarious and heartfelt. You don't need to be a dad to enjoy this book. However, if you are a dad, I can almost guarantee that you'll see a little bit of your own life contained within these pages.


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