Tired of being ashamed of your body? Ask your doctor if this journey to the dark heart of American masculinity is right for you!
In a broken-down Middle American town, the disintegration of a struggling family–its ambitions and emotions worn thin–is laid bare through the cold eyes of its only son. While studying at the local community college to finish his degree, he works what his divorced parents deem to be menial jobs and tries to stay out of their way, keeping his pitiless observations about their lives to himself. He says nothing about his semi-estranged father’s doomed attempts to find meaning in the world. He says nothing about his mother’s willingness to subjugate herself to men he deems unworthy. He says nothing about the anonymity and emptiness to which their social classes and places of birth seem to have condemned everyone he knows, robbing them of even the vocabulary to express their grievances. He says nothing about his own pity, disgust, compassion, disdain, tenderness, and love for them.
But when another in a long line of his father’s boozy relationships falls apart, something changes. He wants to have a chat with his boy. The son fully expects to be talking his dad out of committing suicide, but no: the old man has other plans for his carcass. He has, in fact, entered a bodybuilding competition, and wants his son’s help to get fit. If the alternative is despair, how can the son refuse?
Instantly relatable, impeccably realized, and grimly hilarious, My Father’s Diet is equal parts Kierkegaard, This Side of Paradise, and Pumping Iron: an autopsy of our antiquated notions of manhood, and the perfect, bite-sized novel for a world always keen to mistake narcissism for introspection.