Kickflip Boys reviewed in Publishers Weekly: "heartfelt and blunt"

In this heartfelt and blunt memoir, Thompson (A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley) recalls the highs and lows of raising two boys who grow up obsessed with skateboarding. Thompson indulges his sons’ passion, chronicling their tricks on YouTube and at one point driving them on a cross-country skating adventure. As sons Sean and Leo snarl into their teen years, their rebellious attitudes fester into various forms of disobedience, including marijuana use, vandalism, and a furious disregard for school. Calls from authority figures become routine. As Thompson and his wife, Mary, endure their sons’ growing pains, Thompson recalls his own adolescence, which featured its fair share of skateboarding and rebellion. The family bonded over the sport, but as Sean and Leo get older and more disobedient, they drift from their parents. “I wanted them to fly, though not too much,” Thompson writes. “I also wanted them to comply. Why couldn’t they do both?” He skillfully describes the many trials of parenthood, as when, about facing a stoned son at the dinner table, Thompson wittily remarks, “If we wanted a conflict-free meal, Marty and I would have to pretend Spicoli wasn’t at the table, snickering at us all.” This memoir will provide humor and comfort for parents figuring out their kids—and themselves. Photos. (May)

Neal ThompsonComment