Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
A Better Man
Cover of A Better Man
A Better Man
A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son
Borrow Borrow
“Raw, intimate, and true . . . A Better Man cracked me wide open, and it’s a template for the conversation we need to be having with our boys.”
Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Boys & Sex
A poignant look at boyhood, in the form of a heartfelt letter from comedian Michael Ian Black to his teenage son before he leaves for college, and a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love.

In a world in which the word masculinity now often goes hand in hand with toxic, comedian, actor, and father Michael Ian Black offers up a way forward for boys, men, and anyone who loves them. Part memoir, part advice book, and written as a heartfelt letter to his college-bound son, A Better Man reveals Black’s own complicated relationship with his father, explores the damage and rising violence caused by the expectations placed on boys to “man up,” and searches for the best way to help young men be part of the solution, not the problem. “If we cannot allow ourselves vulnerability,” he writes, “how are we supposed to experience wonder, fear, tenderness?”
Honest, funny, and hopeful, Black skillfully navigates the complex gender issues of our time and delivers a poignant answer to an urgent question: How can we be, and raise, better men? 
“Raw, intimate, and true . . . A Better Man cracked me wide open, and it’s a template for the conversation we need to be having with our boys.”
Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Boys & Sex
A poignant look at boyhood, in the form of a heartfelt letter from comedian Michael Ian Black to his teenage son before he leaves for college, and a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love.

In a world in which the word masculinity now often goes hand in hand with toxic, comedian, actor, and father Michael Ian Black offers up a way forward for boys, men, and anyone who loves them. Part memoir, part advice book, and written as a heartfelt letter to his college-bound son, A Better Man reveals Black’s own complicated relationship with his father, explores the damage and rising violence caused by the expectations placed on boys to “man up,” and searches for the best way to help young men be part of the solution, not the problem. “If we cannot allow ourselves vulnerability,” he writes, “how are we supposed to experience wonder, fear, tenderness?”
Honest, funny, and hopeful, Black skillfully navigates the complex gender issues of our time and delivers a poignant answer to an urgent question: How can we be, and raise, better men? 
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian, and writer who started his career with the sketch comedy show The State, on MTV, and has created and starred in many other television shows. Movie appearances include Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, and Sextuplets.
    Black is the author of several books for children, including the award-winning I’m Bored, I’m Sad, and I’m Worried, and the parody A Child’s First Book of Trump. His books for adults include the memoirs You’re Not Doing It Right and Navel Gazing, and the essay collection My Custom Van. Black also co-authored with Meghan McCain America, You Sexy Bitch.
    As a stand-up comedian, Michael regularly tours the country, and he has released several comedy albums. His podcasts include Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, with Tom Cavanagh; Topics, with Michael Showalter; How to Be Amazing; and Obscure.
    He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.
     
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2020
    A multitalented actor and comedian digs deep to write a letter to his son about becoming a man. Black, who got his start with the cult classic The State, is a performer with many facets. Onstage, he displays a dryly sarcastic sense of humor, and at the same time, he has been able to fully engage his goofy side in projects like Wet Hot American Summer. In his latest work of autobiography, following You're Not Doing It Right, Black drops the act in order to deliver heartfelt lessons for his college-bound son. Opening with the Sandy Hook mass shooting, which occurred blocks from his son's school, the author addresses his fears, hopes, and missteps in raising his children. The shooting, he writes, "felt like a tornado touching down, mindless and cruel. But also predictable. Infuriatingly predictable....In America...mass shootings are as common as sunsets." Whether examining violence, sex, relationships, or compassion, Black lays out his thoughts and feelings with few defenses up and a comic lightness that doesn't belie the book's rather heavy truths. Though not as analytical as Peggy Ornstein's incisive analyses of the sex lives of young people (although she shows up here), the narrative offers thoughtful ruminations on masculinity in the modern age. It's also refreshing to read a memoir that doesn't preach its messages from an author who honestly admits his imperfections. "The ideas I'm giving to you now are the best I can do now," Black writes. "I hope you'll tell me where you think I've fallen short. I hope you'll remind me to stay open and available and receptive to new ideas. Maybe the last job of parenting is surrendering the lead and letting our kids guide us forward. We're going to need the help." Whether you're a parent or simply thinking about life choices, there's both melancholy and wisdom to be found here.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    March 6, 2020

    In this extended letter to his college-bound son, author and comedian Black (You're Not Doing Right) offers advice for navigating adulthood and masculinity, toxic or otherwise. Black combines humor and seriousness throughout--he uses humor when examining what it means to "be a man," but he also shows a side that is serious and vulnerable, drawing from his childhood experiences and giving advice on navigating complex gender issues as a young adult. Black expected his father to pass on the "secrets" of becoming a man, but he lost his father at a young age, and was forced to make sense of masculinity on his own. He reflects on the challenges of parenting and the limitations of protecting one's child. He tackles clich�s, such as the idea that men should never ask for help or show emotion, and he reassuringly urges his son to be himself. VERDICT Both thoughtful and lighthearted, this work will appeal to anyone interested in masculinity and modern gender roles.--Gary Medina, El Camino Coll., Torrance, CA

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 23, 2020
    In this thoughtful memoir and social commentary, comedian Black (You’re Not Doing it Right) writes a loving letter to Elijah, his college-bound son on what it means to be a man today. Black deconstructs America’s troubled relationship with toxic masculinity, which he believes fosters anger and withdrawal in American boys and men—including his younger self. “I cultivated an entire comedic persona based on withdrawal,” Black writes. “Sarcasm is a form of withdrawal.” He recalls the alienation of his suburban New Jersey upbringing and the “might always made right” mantras of the Ramboesque Reagan era. Today, he explains, American men—especially white men—are scared, since their macho behavior is becoming increasingly irrelevant. It’s all made worse, he contends, by “the infinite axis of manliness,” by which society rates a guy’s masculinity based on such arbitrary factors as his choice of beverage or academic performance (“A C student is somehow more macho than an A student”). Black’s advice and counsel (“Respectful pride can enhance your dignity and lift up the people around you”), based on his own desire to be “a better man,” is never maudlin but worldly and self-effacing. He convincingly writes to Elijah, “your generation of men can become pioneers, reinventing masculinity.” Parents will be moved and enlightened by Black’s thoughtful advice.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 1, 2020
    Black (Navel Gazing, 2016) has made a career of being a sarcastic comedian, but now his writing, at least, has taken a serious turn. In A Better Man, he delivers a series of essays that, while still featuring Black's signature wit, begin seriously with reflections on watching the Sandy Hook tragedy unfold live in Newtown, Connecticut, while his children attended the elementary school one town away. He continues on to such topics as toxic masculinity, consent, respect, pride, and how to walk the line between being the man you want to be and the man society might pressure you to be. It is obvious that this is a deeply personal book for Black, who discusses his own disappointing relationship with his father, who died young, as well as his childhood as the "sensitive" boy and the conflicted feelings he has for his mother. Black's essays are addressed directly to his college-bound son, but there's something for everyone in these pages. Hand this to anyone who loved David Sedaris' Calypso (2018).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Algonquin Books
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
A Better Man
A Better Man
A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son
Michael Ian Black
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel