Picks and Pans Review: Fatherhood

updated 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Bill Cosby

His television show tops the ratings because it is funny and because it echoes verities about family life that are instantly recognizable. This book of paternal advice on paternity provides more of the same. Only the mugging is missing. Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a Harvard psychiatrist and consultant for Cosby's TV show, has contributed an introduction and afterword. His stuff is familiar and ought to be skipped. But Cosby's text reads almost like scripts from the show. Here's a sample about the problems of sending children to college: "When I went to college, I sometimes cut classes to go to the movies; but today the movies are the class—sorry, The Film Experience. There are also such challenging courses as The History of Western Belching, the Philosophy of Making Applesauce and Advanced Lawn Mower Maintenance. It is no surprise to hear a college student say on his graduation day, 'Hopefully, I will be able to make an input. College was a fun time, but hopefully now I'll have a viable interface with software.' The software is his brain. The degree he is truly qualified to be given is one in Liberal Semi-Literacy." Like everything on the TV show, the situations are exaggerated, yet close enough to the truth to make us squirm, even as we laugh. (Doubleday, $14.95)

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