Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon

Sayantan Ghosh
Sayantan GhoshDec 09, 2023 | 08:00

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon

Pops: FatherPops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon. (Photo: Amazon)hood in Pieces by Michael Chabon. (Photo: Amazon)

The raging debate of this past week - polarising the entire country - has been about the latest blockbuster film from Bollywood, depicting a violent and disturbed man's unabating love for his father, a film I personally felt was nothing short of vile. That instantly made me want to write about a book which showcases that even painfully distraught father-child relationships can survive in this world without being entirely joyless. 


Michael Chabon's Pops isn't a collection of essays that's trying to tell you what perfect parenting looks like in the modern age. Instead, it's about the little things children can teach parents - both new and old - about being caregivers, or as Chabon puts it in the book, their "minders". 

The genesis of Pops was in 2016 when Chabon wrote an article in GQ magazine from the Paris men's fashion week. He was accompanied there by his youngest son, Abraham or Abe or his "Little Man", with him on the assignment, who was 13 years old at that time and had asked for it as a bar mitzvah present.

Abe was different from the other kids, far more sensitive and flamboyant, with a deep penchant for fashion and style and a desire to create his own unique identity - much of which was expressed through sartorial choices. It isn't always the simplest thing, the writer/father keeps recapping for his readers, because often he's unable to understand why his child is behaving the way they are, which fills him with both wonder and worry.

But it's in these indecipherable moments when parents need to be more reassuring than ever. In one tiny scene, Chabon's then 15-year-old elder daughter remarks, "I'm weird is what you're trying to say." And he replies, "Yeah, but it's okay... You have to be weird somewhere. It might as well be here." A gentle reminder that home is nothing but a place where you can be fearlessly weird.

Last updated: December 09, 2023 | 08:00
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