Man Vs Child by Dominic Knight

In brief: This is the story of Dan, single but wondering if he’ll ever be a dad…

The good: Incredibly funny and incredibly touching

The not-so-good: I need more!

Why I chose it: Received an eGalley from Random House Australia – thank you!

Year: 2013

Pages: 320

Publisher: Random House

Setting: Sydney, Australia

My rating: 10 out of 10 (yes, 10)

I finished this book just a few hours ago and ever since, it’s been going through my mind.


Could it be that the characters were brilliantly written, living humans inside my mind?


Could it be that this is one of the few books to make laugh (and snort) out loud?

Yes. (That’s a big thing. I’m not usually a snorter).

Could it be that I wasn’t sure to smile or cry at the ending?


Man Vs Child really touched me. (Not in a creepy way). It just resonated with me – I’m a girl, a bit younger than the protagonist Dan but he’s going through exactly the same thing as me – all of my friends are getting married and then having babies. Dan’s single – he’s not in a relationship, but occasionally he thinks he’d like a child to call his own. However, he lives in a tiny apartment and regularly survives on minimal sleep in between stand-up comedy gigs and producing a breakfast radio program. Enter Penny, his almost girlfriend from high school, now newly single – with baby. Is this the family Dan secretly craves?

There are several awesome things about Man Vs Child, the first being Dan’s stand up. It reads as really funny, actually making me laugh out loud. I don’t usually get that with written funny stuff. If Dan was real, I’d definitely go to one of his shows. The second is commercial breakfast radio – thanks to Dom Knight, I can never listen to it again with thinking some cynical thoughts. The show Dan produces is with Silly Sally (who isn’t really silly) and Bry Dynamite, an older guy who thinks he’s sexy and funny (but is definitely not). There are people on radio I suspect the inspiration for Bry came from… Some of Bry’s stunts had me groaning aloud – they’re not even dad jokes. I loved reading about the fake pranks, setups and the almighty sponsors.

Another thing I loved was Dan. He is a lovely character – realistic, slightly geeky yet rather delightful. I have a bit of a fictional crush on him. Knight reveals all sides to Dan’s character, from the good to bad. He’s so honest and the thoughts he reveals are not something you’d usually read from an Australian bloke. We only see Penny’s character through Dan’s eyes and it’s interesting to see what is revealed as time goes on. Her child, Lloyd, is reasonably sweet, but how much can you develop a baby’s character?

I don’t want to give away the plot, but wow, some of it is a complete rollercoaster. In the last hour of reading, I went from happy to sad, and then finally astonished. The ending is magnificent – I didn’t know how to feel. Should I be happy? Sad? Worried? It’s a realistic ending and original.

Dom Knight is my generation’s Nick Earls and Nick Hornby. He writes books from a male perspective that have humour, heartbreak and wisdom.

I love it. More please! A 10 out of 10 read (and I don’t give those away lightly).

(If anyone decides to name their child Elspeth after reading this book; I think you’ve completely missed the point!)


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