Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life - Tim Russert I don’t know who the heck this Tim Russert guy is but apparently he’s a pretty famous figure in tv news land. I try to avoid the news for the most part because it either makes me sad or irritates me. I picked this book up because I saw it on the “new audiobook” shelf at my library. I have a long drive and will grab anything new they have up for offer. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not so much.

This book is a love letter of sorts written to the author’s dad “Big Russ”. But it’s more than that. It tells the story of Tim’s childhood in the 50’s which seems pretty darn ideal and gives a clear picture of what growing up during that time frame was all about. Men worked two jobs to bring home the bacon and wouldn’t be caught dead living on welfare, they taught their kids responsibility and manners while a loving mom stayed home to cook and pretty up the house. Their kids didn’t complain and whine because dad was working too much or they didn’t have the latest new kicks. Our world has changed so much, some of it for the better, I could never stay home and cook bacon all day (though I wouldn’t mind staying home and reading all day), but some of the changes I could do without. It was nice to spend some time in a world so very different from my own.

As a youngster Tim seems to have been untouched by the ugliness that too many of us grow up with as wee children be it abusive parents, divorce, suicide, alcohol, poverty and has a nice thing to say about everyone. I wish I could be half as kind on any given day. There were some darker moments when he describes Big Russ’s time in the military but he doesn’t dwell on the darkness. Instead he uses those experiences to explain how Big Russ became the strong, loving, father figure that he later became. Tim was a good boy who seems to have grown up to be a very nice man.

This book was very sweet and down to earth and I did enjoy listening to most of it. I can’t say I exactly identified with any of it all that much having grown up in the 70’s with a very different set of parents, and being a girl, but it was nice to read about a family who was always decent to their kids and taught them to work hard and take responsibility for their actions. Tim seems like a very lucky guy who lived an almost charmed life and was blessed to have met several influential and inspirational people in his life who nudged him in the right direction.

I can’t say this was a gripping read, and many of the later bits focusing on sports and politics just didn’t interest me at all, but for the most part it was pleasant enough to district me from glaring at other drivers jabbering away on their cell phones.