Prior to reading AlternaDad I had only read about Neal Pollack - shameless indie hipster, self promoter extraordinaire, self-proclaimed rock god and bastion of all that is cool in the world. Since I still haven't read any of his other books, I can only go by what I read in his latest book/memoir about the trials and tribulations of raising a child when you're all of the above things.
AlternaDad is about Neal and his wife's struggle to maintain their identities as cool, urban hip folks they've always held themselves to be - smoking dope, staying out late, rocking out at concerts and in their own bands, writing and painting according to their whims and desires - all while being new parents to their son, Elijah. The book begins with Neal and his wife Regina meeting, falling in love, marrying, and then finally to the months and days leading up to the birth of their son, where everything abruptly changes.
I didn't see a lot of the things that Neal is known for (whether in a positive or negative light); instead I saw the same struggles, wishes, and desires my wife and I are dealing with in our heads right now: maintaining our lives, our love for each other, our "cool" factor, all the things that make us what we are. Will we lose them? Will we resent the fact our familiar lives will be taken away from us? Can I still "rock out" when necessary?
Neal finds everything I think one could expect - anger, frustration, a lack of sex, despair - but also, love, joy, laughter, and the ability to impart the sacred values and life lessons that made him who he is down to his son: The Ramones, superheroes, monsters, and a family that places its singular love and commitment to each other over the regulations, admonishments, and rigid structure imposed by the establishment.