Punk Rock Dad

Gabba gabba hey! Get that out of your mouth! A review

Jim Lindberg is the lead singer of the punk rock group Pennywise. Being neither an aficionado of punk nor a fan of the rock bio genre of literature, I resisted reading this book. Having completed my read, I now regret that resistance.

I haven’t listened to Pennywise, Jim’s band, but have heard snippets of their appearances on Loveline with Drew Pinsky. I can’t speak to their music, but I can tell you that Jim a doofus. A loveable doofus, for sure, and quite serious about a few things, but when it comes to things like onesies and potty training, he is a very very silly man. He also happens to be one of the more unlikely authors of a book on parenting.

All generations have their outcasts, those who for the sake of preference, disability or antisocial antagonism set themselves as a breed apart. With the aging of the Punks, we are seeing a wave of kids coming from the outcast generation of the DK, the Decendents and the Misfits.

Being a conformist is easy. Go along to get along. Being a non-conformist has its own simplicity as well. Trying to do both is far more complicated. Instead of discarding the norms that set them apart or embracing another wholesale set of norms, the author has set out to integrate both sensibilies.

Unlike other books on being a father, Jim doesn’t set out to demonstrate that he is the BEST DAD EVER. Instead, he wants to show us how we can keep that punk feeling while balancing the authoritarian needs of parenting. What he discovered on that journey is that we are more alike than different:

I've slowly come to find out that instead of reinforcing my initial feeling that punk rock moms and dads would be completely different and stand out from all the rest, most of my interactions with other parents have actually shown me how much we’re all the same.

Two-thirds of the book reads like candy. Fun, fruity, tasty. Light, bubbly, very brisk. From the chaos of birth to the magic of soccer games, we have a great read. The last section "We’re a happy family" is more a collection of essays. Loosely knotted together, they feel rushed and not quite up to par with the rest of the book, but there are more somber notes for reflection in that last section.

The author has put together a book that is clearly a love letter to his daughters (and to a much lesser extent his wife.) I highly recommend this book. Indeed, I have more than a few friends who NEED this book.

Jim has done the punk rock dads of the world proud.

John "JJ" Ark is Lynn's husband and the publisher of TNH. While he isn't/wasn't a punk, like Jim Lindberg he is a lovable doofus who adores and is adored by his daughters.