January 12, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

In earlier books, Neal Pollack created grandiose alter egos as a faux author and rock critic. But conceptual comedic touches don’t work for real-life parenting. Aside from ingesting a lot of marijuana, it’s not clear how Pollack’s Alternadad differs from everydad. He stresses about finances, the quality of his son’s pre-school, and how to discipline bad behavior. And his world is not as countercultural as he imagines, with haircuts at Toys ”R” Us and lots of kids’ TV. Pollack’s quest to balance partying and parenting may resonate with some, but he can’t overcome a basic truth: Your own child-rearing adventures are seldom as enthralling to other people.

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