This month is turning out to be “Memoir July” for me. After reading Moose: A Memoir Of Fat Camp, I kept with the theme and read Bob Morris’ new book Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad. This is another quirky non-fiction about a certain time from a person’s life, specifically the period shortly after his mother’s death when his father decides to begin dating, and searching for that perfect someone. Never, ever, ever would I want to help one of parents find a new relationship – this is way to far into the ick factor for me. I prefer to go on with the delusion that my parents are completely asexual beings that just happen to sleep in the same bed. But hearing about somebody else helping their own dad hook-up – yeah I can deal with that, and laugh (a lot!) at what happens along the way.
Assisted Loving is the story of Bob, a middle-aged man, who reluctantly agrees to help his eighty-year-old dad Joe, re-enter the dating scene. Recently widowed after fifty years of marriage, Joe knows what he wants in a woman but isn’t quite clear on how to go about finding her. Bob isn’t married, or in a steady relationship, and he’s gay, so his assistance in helping his dad could seem a little strange, a bit unusual and downright hilarious. But if it means his dad will be happy, and less likely to be complain every chance he gets, than Bob is ready to be his father’s wingman on a quest for love (and maybe, possibly, sex!)
At first, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this book, it sounded interesting and unique – but would I honestly want to read about an eighty year old man whose on the prowl, with his son giving tips? So yeah, I was a little hesitant at first, but once the story got going, I was happy to see that this was only part of the main story. This experience in the lives of a son and father was the main theme, but the focus was really about their relationship. It was definitely interesting to see how they changed, as individuals and as relations, during this time. There were glimpses of how they got along in the past and how that impacted their current relationship. I really liked seeing how the two men began to see one another as people, as though by embarking on this adventure together they could strip away the expected behaviors that come with being a “son” and “father.”
Overall, Assisted Loving was an enjoyable read. Both humorous and serious. I especially liked seeing how a child, no matter how old, can reconnect with a parent on so many different levels, and that sometimes it’s important to look behind the parent label and see the person they are.
About The Author
A frequent contributor to the New York Times Sunday Styles section, Bob Morris has been a commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and Travel + Leisure. He also collaborated with Diahann Carroll on her award-winning memoir, The Legs Are The Last To Go.
Photo by Rebekah Andersen
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