Sometimes it can be interesting — other times, hilarious — to hear different perspectives of the same story.
"Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Beesand Other Conversations We Forgot to Have" by Bill Geist and Willie Geist provides a healthy dose of both.
As a father-and-son team, the book's co-authors know a good bit about sharing stories. Bill Geist is a former columnist for the New York Times and retired "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent. His son, Willie, is a co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and anchors "Sunday Today" with Willie Geist.
"The Talk" about sex that they never had sets the tone early. Both share their own journeys of discovery, with Bill suggesting some really terrible approaches to a father-son discussion based on Outback Steakhouse (rejected) and "Star Search" (never used). Willie, on the other hand, relied on movies: "Boyz n the Hood," "Top Gun," and "Risky Business."
Their back-and-forth turns allow the reader to relive family experiences and personal reflections: The hand-me-down family Jeep, a summer camp sales job that left out a crucial detail, and that Christmas featuring a sledgehammer are as laugh-out-loud funny as you would suspect, peppered throughout with memorable dates and family photos.
If you have to share an embarrassing story with a wider audience, it might be tempting to engage our inner filters. Not here. In fact, there are a number of confessions that imply the statute of limitations had expired. It seems likely the collaboration process provided new revelations for both.
That honesty leads to some of the more touching moments. Formerly an unspoken family topic, Bill Geist opens up about his experiences in Vietnam and how for years he tried to hide his Parkinson's disease from family and viewers alike.
This is an engaging look at triumph, failures, insecurities and discovery told through the viewpoint of two men who share a bond full of love and humor, influenced by music, sports and family. Or, as Willie reflects, "Perverse as it may sound, we live for moments that suck — the ones where everything is terrible and there's nowhere we'd rather be."
Librarian Ken Satterfield works every service desk at the Missouri River Regional Library.