The Good Men Project is a collection of autobiographical stories written by men "on the front lines of modern manhood.” It’s about and for men who are living their lives, figuring out what it means to be a good man. The book is a collection of 32 stories, broken into four sections: Fathers, Sons, Husbands, and Workers. There’s also a documentary film which took four of the written stories and told them visually.
Tom Matlack, one of the founders of the Good Men Project, wrote in his introduction to the book that the goal is "by reading other men’s stories and watching them on our documentary film, you can reflect on the arc of your own life and, in the process, begin to form your definition of a good man."
The stories are touching and represent a variety of lifestyles and values. Professor and fiction writer Perry Glasser wrote about being a single dad to an eight-year-old girl. He used beautiful imagery to define security (pouring concrete for a tether ball pole) and the dangers a father protects his daughter from (a bat that gets into the house). Glasser explains how single fatherhood faces different challenges than single motherhood. A single mother wouldn’t have to go to a hair dresser to learn how to brush a girl’s hair. A single mother wouldn’t be questioned by a security guard because she’s waiting for her daughter to come out of the dressing room at a clothing store. This story, the first one in the book, is about a man actively on the front lines of modern manhood, where he learns how to protect and raise his daughter into womanhood.
Because most contributors write professionally, the book is an enjoyable read, but the editors should have defined goodness for themselves. By offering the reader a clear definition of goodness, or several clear definitions, the reader would have something solid to think about. Instead the book presents the stories leaving the reader, if he’s ambitious enough, to decipher for himself what each story says about goodness.
James Houghton, the other founder of the Good Men Project wrote in his introduction, "Despite the pressure we felt at times to make the book more prescriptive, for it to provide easy answers or definitions, the great lesson I’ve learned over the past year… is that there is no definitive answer."
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