Your Dad Stole My Rake : And Other Family Dilemmas
by Tom Papa

Overview -

"I have been a close friend of Tom Papa for 17 years. His lack of ability to perceive even the most basic principles of human functioning have made him an invaluable asset to me as a friend and colleague. Because he sees nothing, knows nothing and understands nothing, I always seek his advice for the most complex matters.  Read more...

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More About Your Dad Stole My Rake by Tom Papa

"I have been a close friend of Tom Papa for 17 years. His lack of ability to perceive even the most basic principles of human functioning have made him an invaluable asset to me as a friend and colleague. Because he sees nothing, knows nothing and understands nothing, I always seek his advice for the most complex matters. Furthermore, I would definitely recommend whatever the name of this book is, because I know it comes from a place of pure nonsense without any knowledge of anything. He is really one of my favorite people." --Jerry Seinfeld, author of SeinLanguage

"Finally a funny book about parenting. Great observations. Great writing. Actually funny. I've always known Tom was hysterical, now I know he is a great writer and a fantastic storyteller. Can Tom Papa write all books?" --Jim Gaffigan, author of Dad is Fat

It's hard being a person, especially in a family, and no one knows that better than stand-up comedian, family man, and Live From Here head writer and performer, Tom Papa.

How do you deal with a life filled with a whole host of characters and their bizarre, inescapable behavior? Especially when you're related to them? Tom Papa is here to help you make sense of it all. Your Dad Stole My Rake is a hilarious and warm book that saws deep into every branch of the family tree and uncovers the most bizarre and surprisingly meaningful aspects of our lives. He exposes everyone, from crazy aunts with mustaches, grandparents who communicate by yelling, and uncles who use marijuana as a condiment.

Among the topics covered:
- Tiger Mom v. Ice-Cream Mom
- Stop Trying to be Cool
- In Defense of Family Vacations
- No Fighting Before Coffee
- Least Popular Baby Names
- Wife Lie Detector
- Your Cat Thinks You're Too Needy

Anyone who has a family, grew up in a family, or has spent time with another human being will love this book.

  • ISBN-13: 9781250144386
  • ISBN-10: 1250144388
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publish Date: June 2018
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Humor > Form - Essays
Books > Humor > Topic - Marriage & Family
Books > Literary Criticism > American - General

BookPage Reviews

A solution to the age-old conundrum

Father’s Day comes but once a year, and boy are we lucky for that. With ties going out of style thanks to tech billionaires (they’re all wearing hoodies now), the gift choices are slimmer than ever. Fortunately, as is so often the case, books can come to the rescue.

When it comes to sports, the “what-if” possibilities are endless. Mike Pesca has assembled 31 of them in Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History. His list might not match yours, but it’s still a fun exercise and a highly readable departure from traditional sports literature. Pesca, host of the Slate podcast “The Gist,” keeps his readers on their toes with a different author for each scenario, so an earnest “What If the National League Had the DH?” is followed by a whimsical “What If Nixon Had Been Good at Football?” (The verdict: still a president, but no Watergate.) Other authors bolster their arguments with charts (“What If Major League Baseball Had Started Testing for Steroids in 1991?”) or, in the case of “What If Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton’s Pass Hadn’t Gone Awry?,” 38 footnotes. The contributors are a multitalented lot, including actor Jesse Eisenberg, radio host Robert Siegel and journalist/historian Louisa Thomas. The contributors are a multitalented lot but each one embraces the task with gusto, inspiring readers to come up with some “what-ifs” of their own.

You probably know Michael Chabon as a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, but he’s also an acclaimed essayist. His first collection, Manhood for Amateurs (2009), was subtitled “The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son.” This time around, with Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, he’s produced seven essays, all dad-oriented. The centerpiece, “Little Man,” recounts a trip to Paris Fashion Week with his youngest and most individualistic child, Abe. (Chabon was on assignment for GQ, where the essay originally appeared.) The essay is not about finding common ground, as is often the case in such essays where father and son are poles apart, but rather Chabon’s happiness that his son has finally found “your people.” The remaining essays are shorter and peppered with humorous insights, particularly “Adventures in Euphemism,” which has Chabon trying to read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to his children without uttering a certain word. Chabon’s relationship with his own father, of course, does not go unexamined, and again he zigs where others zag, taking care not to be overly sentimental.

A cute gopher popping out of his hole adorns the cover of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story. This is ironic, because the makers of the film hated the last-minute addition of the animatronic gopher that bedeviled Bill Murray in the 1980 film. They saw it as an example of the Hollywood studio system destroying their masterwork. But gopher or no gopher, Caddyshack, a slobs-versus-snobs tale set at a country club golf course, became a cult classic, rife with quotable lines and fondly remembered scenes. Film critic Chris Nashawaty tells the behind-the-scenes story in an entertaining fashion, starting at the very beginning with the founding of the National Lampoon, which served as a springboard for Doug Kenney, who co-wrote the classic Animal House and co-wrote and produced Caddyshack. In fact, Nashawaty doesn’t start recounting the actual filming of the movie until well past halfway through the book. No worries though, as readers will enjoy the backstories of writing, casting and the cocaine-fueled shenanigans of Murray and his pals, including Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Kenney, the real star of the book if not the movie.

The genre of graphic literature has grown past just comic books and the newspaper funny pages, and Michael Kupperman, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and Marvel comics, is deadly serious in All the Answers. This black-and-white graphic memoir is perfect for dads who grew up reading comic books and are looking for something with a bit more weight to it. It tells the story of the author’s father, Joel Kupperman, who became famous as one of the stars of the 1940s and ’50s radio and television show “Quiz Kids.” The elder Kupperman subsequently became an author and professor of philosophy, but he retreated from public life as an adult. Spurred by his father’s diagnosis with dementia, Michael coaxes him into talking about his experiences in the public eye and how they shaped his life as an adult. In the process, father and son have some frank exchanges. The son learns how to be a better father as a result of the failings of his own dad, who was perfect in math, perhaps, but not so perfect in the challenges of marriage and family life. Kupperman’s simple, stark drawings add to the somber mood of the book and enhance readers’ understanding of its haunting story.

So Dad thinks he’s funny, eh? He likely has nothing on Tom Papa, whose Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas is a collection of essays with laughs on every page. The aptly named Papa, a father and head writer for the radio variety show “Live From Here” (formerly known as “A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile”), has a one-liner for every family situation, from Facebook (“a class reunion every day”) to owning a cat (“like dating a supermodel”). The book is organized by topics (wives, grandparents and so on), so skip around if you like, or simply read straight through for an extended look at Papa’s twisted but ultimately sunny (well, no more than partly cloudy) vision of family life. If you’re lucky, it lines up with your own.


This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews