Monday, June 06, 2011

The Dave Barry of Catholic Homeschooling Moms

Writing humor is difficult. Because humor is so subjective, one of two things usually happen when people try to write it: 1.) It falls flat because only the writer thinks it's funny, or 2.) It falls flat because it is so full of inside jokes that only the writer and the writer's best friend think it's funny.

Rarely does an author come along who is just innately funny--who has that God-given spark of humor in their writing that catches the reader off-guard and causes him to spit a corn flake across the breakfast table. Dave Barry is one I can think of off the top of my head. Susie Lloyd is another. Her book, Bless Me Father for I Have Kids, is a jovial jaunt through the life of a busy Catholic homeschooling mom. Her observations, anecdotes, and mildly cranky tirades make for a quick and delightful read, perfect fodder for anyone living a Catholic lifestyle and enjoying it.

While Mrs. Lloyd's book is clearly aimed at Catholic moms, I enjoyed it just fine as a Catholic dad. I felt a certain affinity for Mr. Lloyd, and though he plays an integral part in this book, he is never ridiculed. This was so refreshing, particularly considering that ridicule of spouse, often in quite nasty terms, is an old mainstay of comedy. In fact, most of the humor contained in this book is amusingly humble and self-deprecating.

While all the chapters in this book made me laugh, the one that had me quoting sections out-loud to whoever happened to be in the room was entitled "Salvation by Scales" which is about the joys and agonies of piano recitals. This was not so much because my own kids are learning piano--they're not at this point--but because it reminded me of my own childhood experiences. Here's a passage:
When the performance begins, these parents [first-timers] pay careful attention to the program, ticking off the songs as each child goes up to play: Moonlight Sonata for the Right Hand, Brandenberg Boogie No. 3 in G Major. And if this is a Christmas concert, expect such classics as Walking in a Boogie Wonderland. You see, before you get to Beethoven's Pathetique, it is first necessary to master the student arrangements in the Snoozboogie series by U. R. Yawning. No problem. There are only about 12 books in the series. With diligent practice, this should take only six years.
As a victim of nine years of the "Snoozboogie" series, I can relate. Nothing bugged me more as a kid than having to learn jazzed-up version of the classics. I think U.R. Yawning may have been a St. Louis Jesuit.

I would definitely recommend this book to Catholic moms. And Catholic dads won't have to turn in their Knights of Columbus cards just for reading it, either. Bless Me Father for I Have Kids is good, lighthearted fun with a core of truth and honest observation underneath the humor. It should help all Catholics--not just homeschoolers--feel a certain comfort in knowing that others experience the same trials and are able to face them with a positive attitude and a good laugh.

1 comment:

Susie said...

First of all, you compared me to Dave Barry. I can now die happy.
Second of all...
Well, what else is there?
Thanks for a great review!