Book Review: Don’t Panic!

George Lewis ~ Don’t Panic!
All the Stuff the Expectant Dad Needs to Know

Synopsis

Don’t Panic! is a guide for expectant dads written by the comedian George Lewis. With some help from his comedian friends, he guides you through the trials and tribulations of fatherhood while finding plenty of humour along the way.

Review

Comedians telling jokes about parenthood is nothing new. And bookshelves are full of guides to parenting. Yet the two have traditionally operated in very separate orbits. Stand-ups crack jokes about lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones and relatable ineptitude at trying to cope with bringing new life into the world. Meanwhile, experts with years of training and experience – not to mention lots of letters after their names – dispense wisdom based on medical science. This seems a comforting state of affairs: comedians make quips while medical experts tell you the serious stuff.

So for guidance on the most sacred and important role a man can fulfil, I would normally reach for a book from someone who has graduated from med school, and not someone who earns a living from telling jokes.

And yet, Lewis has managed to write a book which is a superb companion to anyone treading down the path which leads to becoming a dad. It manages to be both entertaining and full of genuinely useful information. It is the literary equivalent of a mate who has children putting his arm around your shoulder and talking you through their experiences knowledgably and with humour.

Of course, no two experiences of fatherhood are the same, and to broaden the range of eventualities, some of his comedy friends chime in with their own reflections and words of advice.

While parenthood contains rich pickings for comedians, it is not all plain sailing, and for all the laughs, there is plenty of heartache. It would have been easy to avoid the more difficult issues that can arise – but these are tackled in a sensitive way. Lewis is able to tread the path between humour and respectful solemnity with a surprising deftness which is not as jarring as could be expected.

Most importantly, he normalises the anxieties and stresses that those facing fatherhood inevitably feel while seamlessly weaving in the medical bits that are essential to know.

Book from Random Things Tours. Opinions my own.

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