What We’re Teaching Our Sons

Owen Booth

We’re teaching our sons about money; about heartbreak, and mountains, and philosophy. We’re teaching them about the big bang and the abominable snowman and what happens when you get struck by lightning. We’re teaching them about the toughness of single mothers, and the importance of having friends who’ve known you longer than you’ve known yourself, and the difference between zombies and vampires.

We’re teaching them about sex, although everyone would be a lot happier if the subject had never come up…

Meet the married Dads, the divorced Dads, the widowed Dads and the gay Dads; the gamblers, the firemen, the bankers, the nurses, the soldiers and the milkmen. They’re trying to guide their sons through the foothills of childhood into the bewildering uplands of adulthood. But it’s hard to know if they’re doing it right.

Or what their sons’ mothers think…

Reviews of What We’re Teaching Our Sons

  • ‘Booth pulls the rug out from under the novel form – not to mention a card-house of masculine archetypes – with tender, satirical, melancholy ease’ Joanna Walsh, author of Break.up

    ‘I can’t remember the last time I read a book that so frequently reduced me to tears of laughter and painful recognition. Frighteningly well-observed, caustically perceptive, but never cynical. As a novel it’s somewhere between a philosophical tract, Oulipean constraint, and a consoling, self-deprecating guide to fatherhood; and one of the pleasures, beyond the wit and exuberance of the prose, is the joy of seeing a writer finding the absolutely perfect form for their work’ Luke Kennard, author of The Transition

    ‘Formally bold, funny, sweetly sad and fiendishly clever, Booth finds, on the journey men take with their boys, a small, fertile, hitherto undiscovered island somewhere in the vast ocean between Donald Barthelme and Nick Hornby’ Will Ashon, author of Strange Labyrinth

    ‘What We’re Teaching our Sons is remarkable. Booth has shone a light on the beautiful, flawed and complicated relationship between fathers and sons. I imagine there will be several bought, lent and lost copies of this book in my future’ Laura Pearson, The Motherload

    ‘This is a warm, funny, touching collection of thoughts on what it means in today’s world to be a man … perfect for a tired new dad’ Elaine Robb, The Pool