In 2005, Dan Bucatinsky and his partner, Don Roos, found themselves in an L.A. delivery room, decked out in disposable scrubs from shower cap to booties, to welcome their adopted baby girl – launching their frantic yet memorable adventures into fatherhood. Two and a half years later, the same birth mother – a heroically generous, pack-a-day teen with a passion for Bridezilla marathons and Mountain Dew – delivered a son into the couple’s arms. In Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Bucatinsky moves deftly from sidesplitting stories about where kids put their fingers to the realisation that his athletic son might just grow up to be straight and finally to a reflection on losing his own father just as he’s becoming one. Bucatinsky’s soul-baring and honest stories tap into that all-encompassing, and very human, hunger to be a parent – and the life-changing and often ridiculous road to getting there.
I am obsessed with this book; and yes this is my first audio book review. I am currently sat listening to it in the library; I must note that I should be adding to my criticism of a philosopher’s theory on the definition of art. Along with my Pepsi Max, (I really am obsessed) and a packet of ‘crinklys’ (if you have not tried them, they are crinkly salt and vinegar mini cheddars! Genius!) I am looking out of the window of the library window and trying not to laugh. (Currently he is describing dropping his shorts and shaving his downstairs!) This is honestly brilliant! If you are free for a couple of hours, get onto Amazon and download the audio book; yes the audio book, (makes you feel a little big like a child doesn’t it?) because hearing the stories is absolutely beautiful and if you don’t I promise that you will be missing out.
The book is written by and spoken in my audio book by Dan Bucatinsky; an American actor known for his roles in Greg’s Anatomy, Friends, NYPD Blue, That ’80s Show, Frasier, and Will & Grace. He is married to Don Roos, a famous screenwriter and film director. The book describes the life of two gay men, and their two beautiful adopted children (Eliza, and Jonah,) learning first hand about the difficulty of gaining children in a same sex relationship, learning to deal with newborns, being competitive to be the favourite parent, compromise and the difficulty of life when it is not longer just the two of you. The book weaves and dips through the history of the two fathers with pace. The book is honest but not raw. It has hilarity to it but the honesty is bouncy and understanding. It is often naïve but it dips into the real life qualities in his life. Bucatinsky counters this by seeming to reflect through the chapters and sum up what he has learnt so the book often feels like a reflective and contemplative meditation of life. Additionally the way that Bucatinsky describes the stories are beautifully detailed; for example his daughter and her love for balloons. He describes her need to have it, yet if she is holding it and it scrapes against something and makes that squeaky sound she screams, but she needs to have one! Bucatinsky opens his life to us, giving us delicate snippets of his very life; making us feel part of the story. One of the other positives is the way in which it moves between his lives, past and present, whilst showing his change in demeanour between before and after, and the way that he thinks about his life could have been. However, this is done with sidesplitting hilarity and with humour and sincerity. I cannot describe how perfect it is spoken or how well written the stories are; you need to listen to this!
I could not help but fall in love with this book; not only is it written so beautifully and so honestly that it makes you smile and really reflect on your own life. But, it is also read so perfectly; the warm, lilting and cosy voice of Bucantinsky only makes you want to listen on. Often, whilt I was working on my dissertation in the library I fell completely under the spell of the book, realising that I had lost an hour, almost two, to the story. I could not believe it, but it is that good! I don’t know how brilliant this would have been if I had read it in paper copy rather than listened to it. The voices that Bucatinsky does are brilliant, especially his ‘father’ voice. Additionally, each of the chapters has clever and snappy titles and these only add to its class. The book includes made-up words from the children that also only add to its beauty. I don’t think I can give this book any more build up so I won’t. I don’t want to put you off. I would give this book 5/5 for brilliance so please get a copy and give it a go! It will make you smile, laugh, cry a little (potentially) and learn. The stories have really strength in the summing up and the lessons you will learn from Bucantinsky are brilliant and beautiful. I implore you, set aside an evening, download this audio book and sit down to listen to this brilliant book. Please.