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The Daddy Diaries    by Joshua Braff order for
Daddy Diaries
by Joshua Braff
Order:  USA  Can
Prince Street Press, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

When Jay and Jackie move their family from San Francisco to Florida after Jackie changes jobs, little do they realize how much of an adjustment this is going to be. Jay has been the stay-at-home caretaker for their ten and thirteen-year-old children since they were born. He is a conscientious father and husband who loves his wife and children very much, so when the problems start with their older child Alex, Jay thinks they were caused by the move. Alex tells his father that he is afraid that his parents will die, and Jackie's constant traveling that she must do for her job makes him even more worried since he says he's afraid her plane will crash. Besides his worries and fears about death, Jackie remains able to communicate with him better than Jay is able to manage.

Jay becomes so upset about Alex that Jackie suggests inviting Jay's old school friends and their families for a visit, but this visit results in more problems for Jay when he becomes upset about the way one of these friends and his live-in girlfriend are treating their little girl and inserts himself into this unpleasant family dynamic. His interference isn't welcomed, needless to say. Meanwhile, Jay's brother invites him to bring Alex to New York City to help him celebrate his fiftieth birthday, and Jay is reminded of why he has such a bad relationship with his brother. At the birthday dinner, Jay is mercilessly teased by his brother, who has become wealthy and seems to care for nothing but money, and who needles Jay about being a house husband who earns little money doing freelance writing.

Joshua Braff has written a funny, warm novel about what a man's life can be like when he exchanges roles with his wife, and she becomes the breadwinner while he stays at home with the children. We get a good picture of how much a homemaker is expected to accomplish, regardless of whether that person is a man or a woman, and also are treated to some of the special problems that a man can have when he takes on the job. The Daddy Diaries is an entertaining glimpse of one man's struggle to survive the challenge of being a stay-at-home dad.

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