“Raising kids is like a chess game; you have to stay one move ahead of them. Karen and I had succeeded this week, but I knew we wouldn’t always be so lucky. For as hard as you try to rule your teenager, sometimes they reduce you to king, while they take over as queen — with all the moves!”
Andrew McKinney seems to have it made: an important job, a great wife and three wonderful children. But when his two daughters become teenagers, life turns upside down. It’s as if aliens have taken over the bodies of his loving daughters, leaving him confused and uncertain about what to do.
Family holidays provide some relief and family bonding, but comical mishaps ensue with Andrew dealing with cell phones (from commando raids to decoy phones), wild parties and the theft of his beer. As they teeter on the brink of chaos, Andrew and his wife must determine what to do with their youngest and most rebellious child — send her to university or kick her out of the house?
I requested this book on NetGalley because it sounded like an absolutely hilarious read. I realise this is not the sentiment the author may have felt while living the experiences he describes in his book. Then again, his purpose for this book was to look back and laugh and share his learnings to help other parents navigate their children’s tumultuous teens.
While he struggles to stay one step ahead of his children, especially the youngest who proves to be the most difficult of them all, he finds it equally challenging to present a united front with his wife who quickly falls prey to their daughter’s tricks making them a good-cop-bad-cop pair.
There isn’t a continuous narrative here, rather a compilation of relevant events following one after the other. It feels more like an anthology for the first third of the book before you begin to understand their behaviour patterns, and the axis of the story takes shape.
I imagine parenting is hard and dealing with teenagers harder, especially in an age where you’re fighting for their attention against screen addiction. McKinney writes this as part-memoir describing the hardest period of his life as a parent. He also doubles it up as a self-help book where he shares his wit and wisdom in the form of parenting hacks along with their likelihood to be successful given the circumstances. He also shares the side-effects of parenting on his marriage and how he dealt with them to keep his family from breaking apart.
That’s not to say that it was all bad. There are also moments of pure delight, sometimes even in the face of crisis when you can’t do anything other than keep your chin-up and move forward.
This book is a guidebook for everyone: those who are parents, those who wish to be parents, as well as those who wonder what being parents would be like. Whether you’ve raised teenagers or only been one so far, you’ll find something to laugh about. And if you think your parenting style is being a pet-parent, then aren’t you in for a surprise.
Book 20 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2.
Available on Amazon*.
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