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The New One

Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad
Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With laugh-out-loud funny parenting observations, the New York Times best-selling author and award-winning comedian delivers a book that is perfect for anyone who has ever raised a child, been a child, or refuses to stop acting like one.

In 2016 comedian Mike Birbiglia and poet Jennifer Hope Stein took their 14-month-old daughter Oona to the Nantucket Film Festival. When the festival director picked them up at the airport she asked Mike if he would perform at the storytelling night. She said, "The theme of the stories is jealousy."

Jen quipped, "You're jealous of Oona. You should talk about that." 

And so Mike began sharing some of his darkest and funniest thoughts about the decision to have a child. Jen and Mike revealed to each other their sides of what had gone down during Jen's pregnancy and that first year with their child. Over the next couple years, these stories evolved into a Broadway show, and the more Mike performed it the more he heard how it resonated - not just with parents but also people who resist all kinds of change. 

So he pored over his journals, dug deeper, and created this book: The New One: Painfully True Stories From a Reluctant Dad. Along with hilarious and poignant stories he has never shared before, this audio is sprinkled with poetry Jen wrote as she navigated the same rocky shores of new parenthood.

So here it is. This book is an experiment - sort of like a family.

"Fusing good humor and raw honesty with selections from Stein's evocative poetry, Birbiglia narrates his journey into parenting...Hilarious, relatable, cringeworthy, and effortlessly entertaining." (Kirkus, starred review) 

"This is a brilliant, funny, big-hearted version of he-said, she-said. Birbiglia and Stein trade jokes and poems and splendid storytelling about their roundabout stumble into parenthood. It's hilarious, humane, often beautiful, and absolutely captivating." (Susan Orlean, staff writer at The New Yorker and New York Times best-selling author of The Library Book

"Mike Birbiglia and Jen Stein are the best collaborators since Emily Dickinson teamed up with her long-winded comedian friend. I'm joking because I cannot express how much this book affected me and how many times it made me cry." (John Mulaney, comedian) 

"Wise and wise-assed, the comic hit of the year." (Mary Karr, best-selling author of The Liar's Club, Cherry, and Lit

"Birbiglia and Stein have not only survived parenthood, they're making their most hilarious and truthful art yet. This book might save your best friend's life." (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pulitzer Price-winning writer of Hamilton)  

©2020 Mike Birbiglia and J. Hope Stein (P)2020 Grand Central Publishing

What the critics say

"Fusing good humor and raw honesty with selections from Stein's evocative poetry, Birbiglia narrates his journey into parenting...Hilarious, relatable, cringeworthy, and effortlessly entertaining." (Kirkus, starred review)

"This is a brilliant, funny, big-hearted version of he-said, she-said. Birbiglia and Stein trade jokes and poems and splendid storytelling about their roundabout stumble into parenthood. It's hilarious, humane, often beautiful, and absolutely captivating." (Susan Orlean, staff writer at The New Yorker and New York Times best-selling author of The Library Book)

"Mike Birbiglia and Jen Stein are the best collaborators since Emily Dickinson teamed up with her long-winded comedian friend. I'm joking because I cannot express how much this book affected me and how many times it made me cry." (John Mulaney, comedian)

"Wise and wise-assed, the comic hit of the year." (Mary Karr, best-selling author of The Liar's Club, Cherry, and Lit)

"Birbiglia and Stein have not only survived parenthood, they're making their most hilarious and truthful art yet. This book might save your best friend's life." (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pulitzer Price-winning writer of Hamilton

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  • Amanda Whipp
  • 2020-05-09

A poignant and painfully-honest glimpse into the world of Fatherhood.

This isn’t just a book about parenthood. It’s about love, marriage, and truly listening to our partners. It’s the kind of book that made me feel both profoundly lucky to be childfree, and equally as sad that I chose not to have children. Mike Birbiglia tells his side of the story in a deeply self-reflective, incredibly poignant way. The poems and entries written by his wife, J. Hope Stein are equally as lovely and heart-wrenching. The dual narratives and relentless honesty help elevate this book beyond any other autobiography I’ve read. It takes an unimaginable amount of courage to be this painfully honest— to the public AND to your spouse. For a husband and wife to collaborate and create something positive from the worst year of their marriage— Well, I felt partly like a voyeur, and partly like I was in therapy. This was a truly beautiful book, and I can’t recommend it enough.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Tina L Huang
  • 2020-05-09

Deep, vulnerable and yet hilarious!

I’m so grateful to MIke Bribiglia and to J. Hope Stein for their vulnerability and willingness to talk about the feelings that many of us have but haven’t been willing to accept. So grateful for your authenticity and humor and for showing us the importance of being authentic and true to ourselves!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan Roe
  • 2020-05-14

Funny, heartwarming, and most importantly funny

Mike is a master storyteller that turns vulnerable moments into hilarious anticdotes. It’s emotional, heart warming and beautiful. But all of that would be null and void if it wasn’t funny, but it just so happens to be very funny. It’s rare for a comedian to write a book that doesn’t give you the sense they’re either just bragging or someone else wrote it for them. But Mike’s humor is unique and relatable to every reader.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jason G. Pecor
  • 2020-05-11

Heartfelt and funny. Just what I expected.

Mike Birbiglia is a master of blending hysterical, witty comedy with tender moments and heartfelt delivery. The nature of his prior comedy specials contain so much personal historical narrative that he leaves us feeling like we know him (and Jen) more than we really do. So, that being the case, I had a hunch how this book might play out. I can't say I was right about the details, but the inside look at their honest discussions about the topic of having a child was spot-on. Weaving Jen's poetry into the story was a beautiful touch. Great listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-05-10

Never binged a book before

I loved this book start to finish. It made me feel a lot of things and I learn a lot. Would recommend

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rumbi Görgens
  • 2020-06-29

Beautiful

This is easily one of the most beautiful thing I’ve ever listened to. The exact right amount of information. Thank you, Mike and Jen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bradley E. Fondak
  • 2020-06-28

All the thread counts! Baby changes everything!

I’m a mom. And I knew my kid would change everything and so did my husband, even though he did not feel my overwhelming need to be a parent. Mike and Jen (does the nickname Clo get explained in other shows or books?) try to lie to themselves that their baby will not change everything. But in a twist that will surprise hardly anyone, Una does change everything. And it’s hard and it’s painful, insane, lonely, smelly and bizarre. But with a lot of work, some of their newfound lives are downright wonderful and awesome in that dumbstruck, awe-inspiring meaning of the word. Sleepless babies, poopy diapers, zombie parent half-life, these are very real things that very much suck. But a baby’s laughter is nuclear fusion level magic. It could birth fairies or melt the hearts of the cynical, overworked, lonely and lost. Parenthood is not for everyone. But this book is thirst-quenchingly beautiful. It’s soul food for any parent but especially the ones who might be burnt out, a bit delusional, pondering the fraying ties of their marriage or partnership and reworking their personal image with the impossibly huge role of parent, and trying to take tiny bites as life rolls over and through them. The poetry of this book ripples through my brain all the sweeter for the dulcet tones of Clo. Mike’s storytelling prowess is as powerfully delicious as pizza. Sometimes the toppings are bitter truths, and sometimes my heart gets overstuffed with all the feelings slices. While I do think even low-quality pizza can be enjoyable, and many a book about the life of new parents can entertain and spark thought, this entry in the genre is first rate, scrumptious stuff. Some parts simple and straightforward, some parts delicate and winsome. Gourmet etiquette notwithstanding, I want to stuff my mind and my heart with this book repeatedly and make book angels in the words, just as a child (or Mike Birbiglia) might dream of making pizza angels plopped on a huge pie, arms swathed in cheese and sauce, head pillowed by dough. Put this book in your brain and your belly. (Disclaimer: the writer of this review does not recommend physically eating this book or the device playing this audiobook. Such action could result in injury or death. Learn about metaphors!)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ian Hiatt
  • 2020-06-16

Perfect for dads (still awesome for everyone else)

I've adored Mike Birbiglia since I was in high school, so I was already primed to like this one. But I didn't know HOW much I'd like it. As a relatively new dad, this book was perfect. I found myself sympathizing with his stress, his emotions, his humor. I think a lot of the jokes resonated with me because I'm still a relatively new dad. I hope they still land with others, but would understand if they didn't. What makes Mike one of my favorite comedians is that he's also a storyteller. Yeah, he's funny---but his sets over the last decade or so have been very personal and connected. Sleepwalking, relationships, marriage, kids. They're not just bits strung together haphazardly. They'er stories. He's not just telling jokes. His sets have stuck with me for years, and I'm able to relisten/rewatch for the joy of connecting with a fellow person vs. just listening for quotable lines (of which there are always many). This one is special, too, because sprinkled throughout are some poetry from his wife. I'm not normally so invested in poetry, but I will say hers added a great deal to the story and was humorous as well---if not deeply personal and insightful at times. Highly recommend this one.

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  • Julie Gilman
  • 2020-06-14

Really nice!

A very sweet and truthful telling of parenthood. I only wish the sound production could have evened out the difference in volume between Mike and Jenn's voices.

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  • Brian Greene
  • 2020-06-13

Great Story. must read for fans of the author

My only criticism is that the poem readings are much quieter than the main narration.

1 person found this helpful