Eight is Enough: A Father's Memoir of Life with His Extra Large Family by Tom Braden
Description: Tom Braden had a colorful career: He parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, directed the CIA’s covert operations program during the early years of the Cold War, ran for public office, owned a newspaper, served as executive secretary for the Museum of Modern Art, and cohosted the CNN show Crossfire. He counted among his friends David Brinkley, Robert Frost, Kirk Douglas, and Nelson Rockefeller. But Braden considered fatherhood both his most important job and his biggest adventure. No wonder; he and his wife, Joan, a State Department official and Washington society hostess, raised eight children during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.
In this diverting family memoir, Braden shares a treasure trove of amusing anecdotes—from the time his youngest daughter’s pet sheep interrupted a dinner party with a Supreme Court justice to the telegram US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent after the birth of the Bradens’ eighth child: “Congratulations. I surrender.” (The Kennedys had seven children at the time). With wit and wisdom, Braden also addresses some of the most serious issues, including drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex, faced by parents in an era of deep distrust between generations.
When ABC proposed adapting Eight Is Enough for television, Braden found the idea so preposterous he sold the rights for one dollar. The award-winning series starring Dick Van Patten and Betty Buckley ran for five seasons and launched the Hollywood careers of many young actors, including Willie Aames and Ralph Macchio. A celebration of the joys and tribulations of fatherhood, Eight Is Enough speaks with warmth, humor, and compassion to parents and children everywhere.
Genre: Nonfiction - Memoir
Why I Picked This Book: While I've never watched the show (my husband is still shaking his head in horror over THAT revelation) I thought this sounded really interesting.
My Impression: This memoir is really more of a collection of essays over the course of a number of years. This style really works for Braden's writing style and makes it possible to keep track of which kid is which. Eight may be enough but it's also a LOT to keep track of! Most of the stories revolve around the challenges of managing a household of eight children which led for some pretty entertaining moments. Braden adds a lot of humor to the situation. It's clear he loves his wife and his family but at the same time I have a feeling he spent a lot of time either tuning out the chaos or with very strained patience and rueful humor.
I think my favorite story was the one about the Braden children vs. the Kennedy children but they were all enjoyable. This wasn't a book I flew through but one I tended to pick up and read an essay from as needed. This is perfect travel reading, sick bed reading, or to read during the commercial breaks as you obsessively watch hurricane coverage on The Weather Channel. I hadn't watched the show when I started reading it but I'm off to find some episodes now!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would! I really enjoyed his writing style and his sense of humor.
Would I Recommend this Book? Yes! If you're looking for an entertaining memoir that allows you to dip into here and there this is perfect!