This isn't where Nick Owen thought he would be by this point in life. He used to be a busy web programmer. Now he spends most of his energy trying to stop his three-year-old twins from playing in a dirty sand pit. Nick thinks of himself as Daddy 3.0, a stay-at-home-dad-but he just wasn't programmed for this.
He must navigate a new world of jungle gyms and playdates while supporting his surgeon wife. He tries his best to be there for the twins, but he can't stop making a mess of things. He's just about nearing the end of his rope when the Swing Incident happens. The Swing Incident, spoken of in hushed tones around Nick's New York City apartment building, has caused the resident queen bee, nicknamed "Supermom," to declare him an enemy for life. No matter what Nick does to get back into Supermom's good graces, he fails spectacularly.
Now Nick's going to have to learn to fight fire with fire and become the best superparent on the block. This hilarious new book by Rob Armstrong chronicles one man's journey into the world of modern fatherhood-one botched haircut, playground fight, and dirty diaper at a time.
Kirkus Review A debut book chronicles the improvement of a fictional dad from the 1.0 to 3.0 versions. When the San Francisco-based web startup company that Nick Owen works for goes belly up at the same time his wife accepts an orthopedic residency in New York City, he decides to stay at home with their 3-year-old twin daughters, at least until he can land a new job. Unfortunately, finding a position that actually pays well proves to be more problematic than he anticipated. While at first he feels overwhelmed by his full-time paternal responsibilities and alienated from his fellow stay-at-home parents (exclusively moms), Nick gradually finds his niche.Rather than being cowed by Supermom, the doyenne of the Hospital Family Association, he challenges her supremacy.Supermom, whose name is never revealed, transitions from disapproval toward Nick to outright antipathy;however, some of her cadre of friends--the cleverly nicknamed Good Heart (for her kindness) and Nifty-Fifty Wife (not explained)--come to appreciate his unique approach to parenting. If his wife, Liz, vacillates among hostility, resentment, and occasional approval, her parents are unrelentingly critical of Nick. His friendships with chef Wolfie, a friend since his undergraduate days at Berkeley, and new friend, Kelly, a gorgeous recent divorcée, buoy his spirits immeasurably. Kelly, since her divorce, feels as equally isolated from her friends as Nick does from the Hospital Family moms; however, as their friendship strays into more emotional territory, it adds additional tension to his already strained marriage. In his hilarious book, Armstrong, a Wharton School graduate-turned-stay-at-home dad, makes Nick a tremendously appealing, amusing, self-deprecating character. It is easy to understand why the hero manages to win over his critics. In contrast, Supermom is reminiscent of the popular queen bee at every high school, with a little added intelligence to make her more successful with her underhandedness.The author deftly evokes the negative side of city life with toddlers--few places for free play, the daily hassles of navigating a stroller on city streets, cramped apartments, etc.--that transforms Manhattan into more of a cage than an urban oasis. An appealing comedy delivers many laugh-out-loud moments for the reader who has dealt with a fractious toddler or attempted to cope as an outsider in any type of clique. Red City Review - 4 Stars Armstrong spins a Seinfeld-ish story in his debut novel. Set in first person, Armstrong's narrative includes a colorful array of highly opinionated cast that surround Nick, his featured character. Used mainly as foils to develop Nick's persona, Armstrong's cleverly created cast doesn't reflect the predictable conventional format found in humorous circumstances. In the midst of many minor characters with regular-sounding names, Armstrong incorporates key people with unidentifiable monikers such as Supermom, Nifty-Fifty Wife, Good Heart, and Lion Tamer. It only gets better when he combines his snarky cast to a flurry of uproariously hilarious situational comedy that parents, more than any audience, will appreciate as Nick slowly hones his skills--going from "little grasshopper to Zen master." Catching glimpses of situational comedy scenes, great examples include the police citation at a Chinese restaurant, the missing Doo-cho-baa(security blanket), the flying egg plate, and the case of the liquid trap during playgroup--just to name a few. Kudos goes to Armstrong for producing a highly entertaining coming-of-age as well as human-interest tale.