Review: My Dad Used to Be So Cool

As a new father the title of this book spoke to me. I’m sure it’s going to speak to a lot of people actually because let’s be honest, all men want to be cool dads. For the most part. I’m sure there’s a percentage that bid coolness goodbye long ago and then others that are too cool to be cool i.e. they’re fucking lame. This book is for the rest of us. The book is narrated for the son’s point of view as he wonders about his dad’s past. He sees traces of his old life all around the house, but he doesn’t get what made him give up being “cool.” The imagery is really what drives the story so let's move on to that.

My-Dad-Used-to-Be-So-Cool-1Keith Negley cleverly switches the images around. For instance, on one page we see dad in his old life as a singer in a punk band kneeling down with a microphone and then in the next page in the exact pose, but he’s tying his son’s shoe. That happens often in the book, but there are other pages just showing father and son playing in a park or other elements that made his dad cool.

Frankly I don’t have the art background to describe the art properly, but here it goes. It’s all solid colors and straight lines. Every circle is perfect and there’s not a curve out-of-place. It’s clean looking, but in an industrial design type of way. It’s different for sure, but I really enjoyed it. It was warm and inviting and it worked quite well with the intentional scene switches that I mentioned in the last paragraph. It's not typical and I really liked that.

It’s a cute story. It’s a story that a father could definitely read to his son and while the son may not “get it”, the dad will. Even at the end the son basically goes back to saying that his dad isn’t cool, all the while never really understanding what made him give it up. Obviously we know that answer. Your kid will not and of course you can explain it, but it’s one of those things you tend to understand when you’ve gone through it. That’s what makes it a strange and yet fitting book for your kids and one that I would definitely recommend.

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My Dad Used to Be So Cool
Creator: Keith Negley
Publisher: Flying Eye Books/Nobrow Press
Price: $17.95
Release Date: 7/5/16
Format: Hardcover; Print