Book Review: What to Expect When You Weren’t Really Expecting

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It is such a refreshing thing to find a parenting book directed at fathers. What to Expect When You Weren’t Really Expecting: A Non-Custodial Father’s Guide to Raising a Kid by Graham Chapman is an unadulterated memoir that looks at the life of a non-traditional family in a charming and endearing manner. Chapman’s all-encompassing, brutally honest guide includes solutions when dealing with a former spouse or partner, navigating the legal channels of a custody battle, and how to make the most of the time you have with your child.

In addition to being a guidebook for a single father, Chapman’s book is also a cookbook and maintenance manual that not many parenting books provide. From recipes of fun and easy things to cook for your child to how to deal with tantrums and potty training, Chapman’s matter-of-fact tone and heartwarming experiences as he navigates the world of parenting are laid out in an easy-to-read format that does not require hours of commitment to read.

I would recommend this book to any single parent, one who is going through a divorce, or any father with young daughters (Chapman’s book includes tips on “how to comb a little girl’s hair for men who don’t own a comb”). Frankly, I wish my father had read this when I was a child-he once cut my sister’s hair off when she was three because he couldn’t figure out how to put it in a ponytail. That is the kind of mistake you can avoid by reading Chapman’s book.


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