JuneDavid Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views
Bruce Sallan is a popular commentator on parenting issues from a dad's point-of view, although most of what he has to say is appropriate for either gender. In his new book, "A Dad's Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation," S allan weaves some of his best columns, written under the same title, into a book that is a witty and wise commentary on the current state of the American family. It will surely connect with the vast majority of parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles to whom it speaks. Perhaps he is so wired into his audience because they perceive him as a layman expert to parenting issues who "writes about topics such as marriage, faith and giving, men and women, teenagers, and anything else that comes to my mind. I am not a therapist and have only on-the-job immersion training."
Sallan's parenting immersion didn't begin until age 40 with the birth of his first son by his first wife. A second son followed three years later. When the boys were only six and nine, he divorced, became a single stay-at-home parent raising two sons, and the sole caregiver for his aging parents. "I still look back at those days with bemusement. I was frequently asked the same questions by both moms and dads…" 'What do you do all day?' 'When are you going back to work?'" No one seemed to understand that I was doing 'work.'" Sallan added his current wife to the mix a few years later and at the time of the books' writing, the boys had become fourteen and seventeen-year-olds.
Like his articles, columns and radio shows, the book journeys throughout today's marriage, parenting and personal growth landscapes. The selected columns are clustered under clearly titled thematic chapters like: Teenagers, Family Life and School, Holidays, and Friends. While chapters are neatly connected, each is also an effective stand-alone piece. And three chapters – Big Ideas, More Big Ideas, and Ten Things to Learn From This Book – could easily serve as a quick reference guide for young couples contemplating parenthood. The author has done an excellent job of documenting his own parenting experiences, which seemingly, based upon his popularity, mirror those of many other parents. It is important to note, however, that Sallan's experiences have fortunately not included some of the more serious addiction, teen sex and extreme bullying issues confronting some parents today. These less fortunate parents will need to look elsewhere for support.
"A Dad's Point-of-View" is a quick, easy read about some of the typical, sometimes serious problems facing today's often overwhelmed and ill-prepared parents and their children. "We ARE Half the Equation," a reference to a father's and mother's differing perspectives, is the book's subtitle. But Sallan makes it clear that kids are an important part of the equation too. This is a book the entire family should share.