He is, to put it mildly, less attractive in his contempt for those who run their lives differently, especially women. He bristles at mothers who give up pricey careers to stay home with their kids, calling them “obsessive overschedulers” surrounded by “a complex, impenetrable aura of self-righteous privilege and integrity, mixed with a little sacrifice.” (Never mind that many of these women toil away for free at their children’s schools and raise millions for arts programs the states no longer underwrite.) And I’d be disappointed if his wife, an artist, didn’t hurl a poopy diaper at his head upon reading that “I may have grown confident in fatherhood, but Regina... denied herself happiness, deliberately maneuvering into the regret and self-pity that can often attach itself to mothers as they grow older.”
Pollack clearly adores his son, but he seems to be of the opinion that he has done his wife and the rest of humanity a big favor by agreeing to look after him for whole weekendsalone. To the degree that Alternadad is about the confounding of Pollack’s expectations that he would raise a cool kid while maintaining his own cool life (soon after Elijah was born, Pollack took off on tour with his rock band), it is funny and appealing. But soon his self-deprecating candor tips over into narcissistic bombast, replete with page after page of fully reproduced father-son dialogue on how he shaped his little boy (“this, then, was my legacy to my son”) in his own hip, nonconformist image. No wonder the poor kid turned into a biter and got himself booted out of preschool.
Erika Schickel will read at “Women’s Night Out” with Alicia Brandt at the M Bar, 1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood, on Thurs., Feb. 22. 7 p.m. seating for dinner, 7:30 p.m. show; for reservations, call (323) 856-0036.
Neal Pollack will appear at Borders, 1360 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, on Sat., Feb. 24, 7 p.m.