Excerpt from Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Monkey Dancing

A Father, Two Kids and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth

by Daniel Glick

Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2003, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


And so I "got the kids." Given all the possible choices and creative alternatives that parents come up with in the divorce-crazy times we live in, I never thought that Kolya and Zoe would live with me virtually full-time. In truth, I'm not sure I would have really enjoyed the unsettling week-on, week-off arrangement that so many couples have negotiated. Each time Zoe arranges a play date these days I ask, "Am I taking you to (fill in friend's name here) mom's or her dad's?" Scattered around the kitchen on scraps of paper, I have written various friends' vital information: mom's home phone, her cell phone, at her boyfriend's home, the dad's home phone, cell phone, and his second wife's work phone and cell phone as well. We, too, are members of the new American family, needing a dictionary of terms that extends beyond half-brother and stepsister to include, for example, the niece of my ex-wife's live-in girlfriend, or my girlfriend Tory's brother's male partner.

Rebecca and I first separated a little more than two years before this trip, in the spring of 1998. At first we traded off weeks staying at a friend's house while the kids remained in their own rooms in our family home. Then, for six months while we sorted out the divorce, Rebecca sublet a house two doors down from me. We conducted a week-on, week-off trade, with the kids free to roam back and forth between the two houses to pick up forgotten homework and favorite sweaters. We even managed, by the end, to be civil enough for me to visit her house and watch Monday Night Football with Kolya on the rental house's cable, since I didn't have television reception.

Then she moved to the West Coast.

Then I subscribed to cable.

The process of becoming a single parent became an odyssey, and it still is. During most of the marriage I had been the sole wage earner, and the Ward and June Cleaver overtones of our lives had amused us at times. Neither of us had ever imagined such a stereotypical existence when we married, a month before Rebecca's twenty-third birthday, when I was twenty-seven. After three years of Asian travels together, including a year's stint as English teachers in Japan, we arrived home, unemployed. I enrolled in a journalism master's program at Berkeley, dreaming of becoming a foreign correspondent, and Kolya was born during my first year of journalism boot camp. My postgraduate internship miraculously turned into a job in Washington, D.C., as a Newsweek correspondent in 1989. Suddenly, I felt like the Tom Hanks character in the movie Big, a kid masquerading as a grown-up, flying on Air Force One and scribbling furiously on a notepad when President Bush the First came back to chat up the captive reporters. For nearly six years I was based in D.C., wore a coat and tie, rode the train to work a block from the White House, and arrived home just in time for a late dinner.

During those years, just before and after Zoe was born and while Kolya was a toddler transforming into a kindergartner, Rebecca admirably discharged the dual duties of full-time mom and part-time student earning a master's degree in education. The division of labor generally adhered to traditional lines, although I tried to be a sensitive New Age dad. I happily played with Kolya when I came home from work, helped with dinner and dishes, and became the designated toilet cleaner. I would feel like a hero when I gave Rebecca a break and took Kolya to the park on Sunday afternoons, sitting on a bench reading the Washington Post while he played on the swings.

Rebecca held down the fort in every way. She researched the preschools, kept track of the doctors' appointments, the immunizations, the kids' friends' birthday party gifts, my family's birthdays and Christmas presents, and most of the sundry niceties and necessities of keeping a household of four together. Her work was especially grueling when I served the cruel master of weekly deadlines and wouldn't see the kids awake for two days at a stretch, or when I departed on open-ended assignments.

Copyright 2003 by Daniel Glick. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher PublicAffairs.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...
  • Book Jacket: Dadland
    Dadland
    by Keggie Carew
    In her notable debut, Keggie Carew examines the life of her father Tom, a decorated war hero whose ...
  • Book Jacket: Piecing Me Together
    Piecing Me Together
    by Renee Watson
    Race and class in American culture certainly dominate the news right now. These two things seem to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -