Lamentations Of The Father
by Ian Frazier
(Westminster John Knox Press, 2000, hardcover, 27pp, $26.95. Available from AD Books)
Lamentations of the Father is a humorous and colourfully illustrated book, which offers a delightful yet insightful perspective on parenting. Adapting the language of Deuteronomy, tongue-in-cheek, it sets out a father's code of conduct for young children.
Its author, Ian Frazier, has been a regular contributor to Harper's, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, is the author of numerous books and winner of the Thurber prize for Humour. The illustrator of Lamentations of the Father is Bruce Zick, who has been an artist and designer for such films as The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt and Beauty and the Beast.
This talented duo tackles a range of domestic headache situations involving the raising of young children. Readers who have experienced these testing times will find their memories jogged; those currently coping with a young family will at least see the funny side of often difficult situations.
Among the topics are "Laws When at Table", "Laws Pertaining to Dessert", "On Screaming", "Concerning Face and Hands" and "Various Other Laws, Statutes and Ordinances."
The following example typifies the delights to be found in Lamentations of the Father: "For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert ..."
Mary-Jane Donnellan is a Melbourne Catholic writer.