2016 was most assuredly not my most productive year of reading. Sure if you check my Goodreads profile it will say that I read somewhere around 30 titles, my goal for the year. But what it doesn’t say is that I completely slacked on reading new release titles. So towards the end of the year I decided to read through some best of lists (having just completed our best of list at Triple B), and request some books through the library. Rules For Dating My Daughter immediately interested me based on the title alone. Before this I had never heard of Mike Dawson, but admittedly I hadn’t heard of most of the graphic novelists that made the best of lists in 2016.
When you first open Rules, you are greeted to a panel-less style of comic. Filling the page at random, Dawson starts the story with his impressions on today’s politics. He talks of Duck Dynasty’s LGBT woes, the controversial George Zimmerman and telemarketers. What is marketed as a book about having a daughter, takes the wide angle and transitions into just what it means to be a good parent. Dawson fills the next 150 pages with essays concerning what it means to be a parent: what’s difficult, what’s easy and the things that we need to be concerned about. He talks about the politics of Disney cartoons and how they might have an effect on his daughter and how The War of the Worlds is just a metaphor for climate change.
At first glance, it was a little disconcerting when as the pages flew by the topic went further and further away from advice about raising a daughter. My thoughts were akin to where are you going with this Mike? But as the novel progressed I found myself resonating with everything that was said and even becoming concerned that Dawson had somehow tapped my brain in order to write certain parts of the book. The art style really lends itself to the story too as it changes moderately as the stories themselves change. Had I read this novel last year, it surely would have made the top of my 2016 selections.
4.5 out of 5 – One of the most pleasant “not what the title is about” experiences that I’ve ever had. Every young parent should read Rules For Dating My Daughter.