The relationship between fathers and babies can be a unique experience, one not really addressed a few decades ago. As such, Home Game contains the reflections of a father who did not have a viable role model before him but had to learn the craft of fathering by improvising and handling difficult situations through quick and practical thinking.
On page 80 of the hardcover edition, the author Michael Lewis says, “The first rule of fatherhood is that if you don’t see what the problem is, you are the problem. Unfair Games In spite of these words, the author takes the reader through his experience in fatherhood to two girls and a boy, starting with their births, sibling rivalries, camping trips, and whatever one may expect from raising three little children. He is not, however, as alone in this, as he feels, since he has his wife, babysitters, and the like.
The author is by no means an experienced or exemplary father, but he manages as well as he can. If in a tight spot, he is responsible enough but also may show a devil-may-care attitude. On the other hand, he says he read up on the subject a bit, with mixed success, mostly the notes his wife handed him before their second daughter was born. As a result, he handles a difficult situation well enough when their toddler expresses negative feelings toward the new baby. In illustrating this experience, Lewis writes: “She was no longer a happy, loving child. She was a personal injury lawyer taking a deposition.”
Lewis relates to fatherhood as if it is an adventure, but an adventure he probably did not expect to encounter or to prepare for, since the children with their needs became the ones in charge, and life proved to be more difficult especially during the time when his wife Tabitha did not feel well. What is surprising is that the author has been able to keep a journal about what happened to him and his children and managed to write other books, too, a feat that may become almost impossible for another parent like him because, according to the book, his children have occupied the center of his attention almost all the time.
Many parents can identify with Lewis’s experience in raising children, since he relates the anecdotes with sincerity and also with humor tinged with cynicism. The voice of the author is direct, and the book makes for an easy reading. Yet, inside this ease of language, the competency of the author is evident.
Home Game, published by W. W. Norton & Company (May 18, 2009), is in hardcover with 192 pages and ISBN-10: 039306901X and ISBN-13: 978-0393069013.
The author Michael Lewis has worked as a bond salesman for Solomon Brothers, for the New York Times Magazine, as a columnist for Bloomberg, then a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and he wrote the Dad Again column for Slate. After that he joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor. His other books are: Liar’s Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, and The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.
The importance of Home Game is in the realization that parental love may not happen immediately and that a certain bonding has to be established among the members of a family for that family to work as a unit. The book does not add anything new or intellectual to child raising; however, it would be unfair to expect this from the author since he has written a personal-experience story and not a how-to book.
As for me, I enjoyed reading Home Game because I found Michael Lewis to be a compassionate father and a very good writer.