Though he entering an already crowded field of pithy family essayists, Wilder's first book still resonates as an idiosyncratic charmer, avoiding the easy jokes for more carefully calculated wit. The familiar perils of parenthood-diaper changing, sleepless nights, inappropriate early words-are enumerated with an easygoing prose style that is consistently clever without ever trying too hard. Wilder is at his best when he ventures slightly farther afield from the standard set-pieces of the genre, such as in the show-stopping piece ""Blood on the Tracks,"" in which he attends a music class for his son taught by a psychotic woman named Judith. Wilder perfectly conveys the nightmarish situation, recalling with escalating anxiety the rhyming couplets in which the teacher sings all of her instructions (""Repeating notes in such location / Is called proper audiation"").. Unfortunately, the collection of 33 essays can get repetitive, and also suffers from the disjointed chronology that sometimes plagues works such as these. Nevertheless, Wilder deserves praise for his humor-especially his deadpan and appropriately dispatched profanity-as well as for the well rendered portraits of his worrying wife Lala and his two children.