Verdict: The book is a celebration of an ordinary family and the work required to raise children who at least have the opportunity to succeed in life and perhaps surpass the mundane.
In this entertaining series of essays, O’Dwyer mines his comfortable middle-class American childhood for life lessons. The tone is humorous, rather than laugh-out-loud funny and O’Dwyer’s younger self sometimes seem mature for his age.
Although his nineteen-seventies childhood in up-state New York is not so far away in time, the explosion of new technologies makes it seem far distant. O’Dwyer and his friends explore their neighborhood on bikes and, later, spend days at the mall with minimal adult supervision. He and his older sister put on song and dance shows for the neighbors with only a record player for accompaniment. The height of technology is reached by a tape recorder he uses to record his favorite radio show.
In vignettes about family trips and dinners O’Dwyer ponders each individual’s contribution to the family, with older generations teaching younger generations through their practices rather than their preaching. Most of the stories center on his immediate family (parents and sister), two reach out to include his father’s Uncle Frank and his mother’s parents. The action takes place in upstate New York and parts of New England, with one ill-fated family camping trip to celebrate the bicentennial.
How To Raise A Good Kid is a celebration of an ordinary family and the work required to raise children who at least have the opportunity to succeed in life and perhaps surpass the mundane.
Reviewed by Brid Nowlan for IndieReader
Purchase How To Raise A Good Kid: A Guide To Growing Up For Parents And Children from Amazon