Daddy 3.0: A Comedy of Errors by Rob Armstrong

four stars

daddyAfter his San Francisco-based website job goes “belly up,” Nick Owen and his family move to Manhattan when his wife Liz gets accepted into an orthopedic residency program. With no work available for the previous computer programmer, Nick has a difficult time adjusting to being a stay-at-home dad to his cantankerous three-year-old twin girls. It doesn’t help that Nick manages to say and do all the wrong things in the presence of the stay-at-home moms (especially the obnoxious Supermom) in his building complex. To make matters worse, Nick and Liz are not getting along. Although there are people who try to point him in a better direction, the last thing Nick expects is to have his marriage tested when he befriends a gorgeous divorcee.

Armstrong spins a Seinfeld-ish story in his debut novel. Set in first person, Armstrong’s narrative includes a colorful array of highly opinionated cast that surround Nick, his featured character. Used mainly as foils to develop Nick’s persona, Armstrong’s cleverly created cast doesn’t reflect the predictable conventional format found in humorous circumstances. In the midst of many minor characters with regular-sounding names, Armstrong incorporates key people with unidentifiable monikers such as Supermom, Nifty-Fifty Wife, Good Heart, and Lion Tamer. It only gets better when he combines his snarky cast to a flurry of uproariously hilarious situational comedy that parents, more than any audience, will appreciate as Nick slowly hones his skills—going from “little grasshopper to Zen master.” Catching glimpses of situational comedy scenes, great examples include the police citation at a Chinese restaurant, the missing Doo-cho-baa (security blanket), the flying egg plate, and the case of the liquid trap during playgroup—just to name a few. Kudos goes to Armstrong for producing a highly entertaining coming-of-age as well as human-interest tale.

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