Even More Bad Parenting Advice by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher
Even when we old folks have only the noblest intentions, our parenting skills don’t always live up to the ‘skill’ part, ahem. Canadian French comic master Guy Delisle humorously mines his own follies, and gives us the perfect opportunity to keep laughing with him, and even more so, at ourselves. If you giggled over last year’s A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting, you’ll surely continue to guffaw (even as you commiserate) through this follow-up.
In case of any confusion, allow me to reveal right here that Nadège – Delisle’s partner/girlfriend/wife/mother of his two young children (her monikers have changed throughout his various previous volumes) – whose foreign postings with Médecins San Frontières/Doctors Without Borders inspired at least two of his titles (Burma Chronicles and Jerusalem), is seemingly the single voice of reason here. She doesn’t appear often – more often, she just needs to be alluded to – but the rest of the family is well aware who really speaks with authority.
With Daddy in charge – especially when he’s trying to figure out the taxes, social security, and other such “bunch(es) of paperwork” – “life isn’t fair” and “math is really strange” for first-grader Alice who’s trying to understand why number-counting includes two 56s: “… 50, 51, 52, 56, 54, 55, and then 56 again, right?” Who needs 53 anyway? “That’s just how it is,” Daddy assures Alice.
Daddy-in-charge-when-Mommy-doesn’t-come-home-for-lunch means more sushi, chocolate ice cream popsicles, eating in front of the TV watching cartoons, and playing PS3 instead of going back to school. That makes him “the best dad in the universe,” of course!
So his Sunday-night homework gathering skills reveal a few too many inappropriate details, his explanation about street people results in mistaken identity, his tooth-pulling follow-through is a bit suspect, his nighttime assurances turn out too bloody, and he’s not above wreaking revenge for the sake of his wronged child. His penchant for manga and early cartoons (not meant for kids) might be stronger than recognizing his child’s educational needs. He’s more worried about Nadège’s disapproval than confronting sharks (wow!). And he blames himself for his son’s paranoia about punctuality, even as he attempts to challenge the ticking clock for them both … hurry, hurry!
Vignette by vignette, Delisle’s comic observations have just enough truth to have us all nodding along. Those fantastical explanations (who needs logic?), the occasional expletive we didn’t intend (promise!), the attempts to be fair always (whoops!), enforcing good behavior (do as I say, not as I do!) – you’ll recognize all your favorite parental ploys. Not to mention the occasional slip-ups! That said, humans have been birthing babies since we arrived on earth … how hard can setting the right examples be, right? Hahahahaha! Silly, delusional me!
Published: 2014 (United States)