In this "refreshingly relatable" (Outside) memoir, perfect for the self-isolating family, Slate editor Dan Kois sets out with his family on a journey around the world to change their lives together.
In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the fractious, loving Kois' go in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home-but closer together. Over a year the family lands in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live outside the East Coast parenting bubble.
HOW TO BE A FAMILY brings readers along as the Kois girls-witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-like through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?
A journalistic memoir filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, HOW TO BE A FAMILY will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.
About the Author
Dan Kois is an editor at Slate, founding host of the podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting, and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.
"Borrows a page from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love....this book is an antidote to the documentarian approach that now pervades much travel writing."—Monica Drake, New York Times Book Review
"A hilarious and honest book about how wherever you (and your kids) go, there you (and their screens) are."
"Might remind cinema-minded readers of the end of Bill Forsyth's 1983 film Local Hero...nicely tuned-in observations befitting a keen-eyed journalist."—Kirkus
"In thishighly entertaining and wryly insightful book, Dan Kois shows how elastic the very concept of family is. As he recounts his family's encounters with four foreign cultures, he illuminates not only those other societies, but also our own. He argues persuasively that we have much to learn from divorcing ourselves from our own assumptions."—Andrew Solomon, author of Far and Away and Far From the Tree
"How To Be a Family is a witty, surprising and compulsively readable book. You may find yourself planning a geographical cure of your own by the time you reach the end of it. But Kois is too thoughtful a writer to dwell only on the transformative possibilities of such a trip. Nothing is quite as his family imagined it would be and this leads the book into exhilarating, emotionally complex territory."—Jenny Offill, author of Department of Speculation