While I did receive a free copy of Paul Guzzo’s book, I was not compensated for this review. The following review is not influenced by the writer or a publisher.
Not every family story starts with a magic sex rock. I’m imagining the Brady Bunch song right now, and though it may fit in with the shenanigans of the cast, it does not fit the mantra of the typical family story. And while Paul Guzzo’s Overnight Family Man may not fit the “stereotypical” mold, it should be in your shopping cart.
It is a story of a man who goes from a single man to a family man. Overnight – hence the name.
Here’s the opening structure – boy meets girl playing softball, boy tries to talk to girl, girl says boy isn’t her type, boy learns girl has kids, but connection between boy and girl is too strong to ignore. That’s the exposition simplified, but this story is anything but simple.
Guzzo is a talented writer. His book draws you in like a piece of fiction would, yet you find yourself invested in it – the way good nonfiction allows you to be. There are layers of lessons to learn (the first of which involves reading the directions to the aforementioned rock) most involving the effects (not meant negatively) fatherhood has on a formerly single dad. Everyone always talks about how it changes your life, but in this case you see the changes in a flash. Everything from workout schedules to sleeping arrangements to family pets to discipline.
Guzzo pulls back the curtain on his life and allows you to peek in to some very personal areas. You come to not only respect his honesty as a writer, but also his intent to be the best dad he can be to all of his kids whether they are labeled as his “stepkids” or “biological” – for the record he doesn’t see that distinction but respects that others might.
There is one chapter in particular that illustrates the bond of love and respect between Paul and his wife, Amy. It also happens to be my favorite chapter. In it he gives the explanation for their name choice for their son. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that it is symbolic of just how open Guzzo is about his experience.
The last thing I would like to mention is my favorite feature of the book. Sprinkled into Guzzo’s narrative are a number of Facebook posts from the time period he is describing. It is almost like a peek into his personal diary. These posts would later inspire him to write the book.
This book is a great gift for new stepdads, new dads, any parent, people thinking about having kids, or anyone who appreciates good writing.
Know anybody that fits any of those categories? Go ahead and gift them a copy.
For now…Captain out.