BOOK REVIEW: 'When Parents Text': New Technology Yields Scads of Often Unintentional Humor

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'When Parents Text': New Technology Yields Scads of Often Unintentional Humor

DAD: hello son. I need you to call me as soon as you get this. I am using good grammar because your mom says it bugs you when I dont. Sorry I didnt use an apostrophe. I dont know how. I also dont know how to do a zero. I still use a capital O. Actually you dont have to call me anymore.


Me: How long did that take you to write?


DAD: lets just say funniest home videos is almost over.   --- From "When Parents Text"


When aging fingers meet tiny keyboards, the fun begins in earnest in "When Parents Text" (Workman Publishing, 256 pages, illustrations -- including Condom Cat --$10.95) by Sophia Fraioli and Lauren Kaelin. What started out as a website --www.whenparentstext.com -- continues into the world of print as a loving tribute from two members of the wired generation to their parents.


Fraioli and Kaelin have gathered together a collection of texts between parents and their offspring, turning "When Parents Text" into a surprisingly touching examination of the complicated time when parents aren’t ready to let go, and kids aren’t ready to be let go. The parents are well-meaning but hopeless, silly and a little corny, and befuddled by the technology. The kids are bewildered yet patient: the perfect straight man or woman. 


Speaking of their parents, they probably first "texted" on manual typewriters because back in the day, telephones were clunky black objects with rotary dials. Just as their kids are discovering typewriters -- yes, younger people have participated in type-ins using Remingtons, Smith-Coronas, Olympias, Olivettis and other mechanical marvels of the past -- so are members of the AARP Generation learning how to manipulate the tiny keys on smart phones.


(Not this geezer. I  e-mail big time, but I don't text. I'm not a heavy user of my two mobile phones -- neither of which is 'smart': I take one along on trips or jaunts to the golf course or shooting range or supermarket to keep in touch. When I message on my Cruz Tablet, an android device that I use to read ebooks and check e-mails, I often end up like DAD, above,  because I'm too lazy to figure out apostrophes and capital letters.)
Here are some sample text messages from a book that you'll probably promote to your library of toilet reading material -- and I mean that as a compliment:

There’s the revelatory: Mom: My fingers are saying words. This is amazing. 

The virtual scolding: Dad: I will deal with your sassy behavior when I get home. Meanwhile have some fiber.

The autofill-challenged: Mom: dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. Me: ummm, what? Mom: It autocorrected me. I mean to say dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. (4 minutes later) Mom: PICK UP SOME TAMPONS ON YOUR WAY HOME.

The manically inappropriate: Mom: Woo Hoo—Ruth died, you know Uncle Lyman’s wife, BUT I have your Braves tickets and check on the table!!

And the downright inexplicable: Dad: You could poop your pants in the yankee candle store and no one would know.

Launched as a website just last year, www.whenparentstext.com is a phenomenon. It receives 300,000 to 500,000 page views a day, and has been written about in The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, College Humor, and more. "When Parents Text" includes the best of texts from the website, plus more than 50 percent all-new material never before published.

The handy-for-the-pocket book Includes an emoticon glossary and 16-page color insert of MMS texts— multimedia messaging service, aka, bizarre photos from mom and dad -- including the aforementioned Condom Cat.


About Condom Cat, she looks a lot like Greta, our wonder shelter cat. I won't spoil the fun by quoting the message....OK, here it is: "MOM: The cat wants to know why she found condoms in your laundry." Don't worry, there are many other color photos in the book to make you laugh.


If you're looking for the perfect gift from a text-savvy kid to old-fingered but willing to learn adults, "When Parents Text" is just about perfect.


About the Authors
Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli grew up in Montclair, N.J., and have been best friends since sixth grade. After graduating from Smith (Lauren) and the University of Vermont (Sophia), they moved back to Montclair and now run the hugely popular website,www.whenparentstext.com.

Publisher's website: www.workman.com
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