October 03, 2005

Book Review: In the Beginning, There Were No Diapers by Tim Bete

Five pages into this book, I put it down, looked over at my wife, and said, "When I finish this book, you HAVE to read it." This is not a decision that I recommend, though -- once you say this, you automatically forfeit your rights to read significant passages from the book out loud to everyone in the room. And that is something that you'll want to do -- many, many times. I was able to really identify with Bete as he talked about his experiences with babies -- especially potty training, and the trials of getting a child to eat more than hot dogs and chicken nuggets. But even the stories that I couldn't directl relate to were stories I could enjoy, and laugh at.

Bete's stories ring very true to parents, who can at least sympathise with his many misadventures and anxieties. He writes as if he is the parental version of Everyman (call him "Everydad"); even when parents cannot actually identify with a particular story, they can read and laugh, knowing that there, but for the grace of God, they go.

Bete also focuses on the "minor miracles" that happen every day in parenting. The day your child goes potty by themselves. The day they eat an actual vegetable without being threatened. His experiences also allow him to more fully appreciate many of the miracles in the Bible -- Jesus fed 5000 with bread and fish, and none of the kids complained, dropped their food, or wanted tartar sauce for their fish. Two miracles happened that day, but only a parent can appreciate the second miracle.

Tim Bete was once recommended to fill the shoes of Dave Barry after the latter's retirement. While their topics are not always the same, fans of Dave Barry will definitely see similarities in comedic style and sense of humor. But the himor isn't the best part.

Bete has an award-winning website that should be in every writer's bookmarks. He tracks the journey of this book from idea to published work, including tips that any new writer will find valuable. I know that I'll refer back to his site a lot in the very near future ...

And now, I need to get this copy of Tim's book to my wife, and remind her that I've already rad it, so she doesn't need to read it aloud to me. But I know she will anyway -- it's that funny.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 07:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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