McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

March 6, 2014

Bookworm

McALESTER — Bookworm

“You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty”

By Dave Barry

c.2014, Putnam    

$26.95

224 pages

Barry’s latest: Like ‘spending time with 8th-grade boys, only better’

By TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Special correspondent

You never wanted to grow up to be a zookeeper.

And yet, your home is filled with wildlife: monkeys on the furniture. Hyenas watching TV. Elephants tromping through the house. Mules in the morning, wolves in the afternoon, and sloths in the evening.

In other words, you have kids and since you’ve spent all this time taming them, you’re a bear about who they hang out with. So you’ll understand the sentiment behind “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty” by Dave Barry.

If you want to know what a good father is, look no further than this book.

Yes, Dave Barry is a good dad: he actually took his daughter, Sophie, to a Justin Bieber concert. That was after “the hormone bomb detonated” in his house and he was no longer an authority figure. He was a Dad who knew very little about his little girl, except that her school is “infested” with boys.

He was in his 50s when Sophie was born. If he gets his way, he’ll be 92 years old when she has her first date. Which will, by the way, be chaperoned by Barry himself, alive or dead, there on the console.

These are things a man does. He also needs to be manly, which isn’t easy these days because of “the Baby Boomers.” We are not like our parents, says Barry. “They were the Greatest Generation; we are Generation Wuss.”

And yet, he’s brave enough to have read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in order to find out why women are so enamored of it. He discovered that “Women are interested in sex.” Later, he read a study indicating that women are talkers and men “are more suited to taking action, such as opening a beer, or opening a second beer.”

Which is not to say that Barry is open to the kinds of challenges that some commercials tout; in fact, he says, that for older men, “Learning when to back down from challenges is one of the main reasons he got to be an older man, as opposed to dead.” Challenges, such as shopping in a foreign country, keeping the dog from stopping every 20 feet during a walk, and becoming a professional author…

Here’s one important bit of advice: do not — DO NOT — drink anything while reading “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty” unless you have a heavy towel in front of you. Spewing liquid across table or aisle while you’re laughing isn’t a pretty sight.

And you will laugh because author Dave Barry is a very funny guy with a knack for knowing what we’re thinking a half-second before we do — but unlike us, he’s unabashed enough to actually say it, with barely a filter. It’s kind of like spending time with a silly group of eighth-grade boys, only better and just slightly more grown-up.

I loved this book. I laughed, I got a little verklempt, and then I laughed again. I think you will, too, because “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty” is wildly funny.

Book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books.

 

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