A new edition of that book was among the gifts from my dad when I turned forty myself recently. It’s witty and well-observed, if a bit depressing. You don’t have to be having a mid-life crisis to appreciate it.
In one scene, two-year-old Leo encounters an authentic two-year-old at an airport. Having by this point in the story suffered several rejections — everyone’s got their own problems (which is more or less the whole point of the book) — Leo bitterly tells the other boy, “If I knew at your age what I’ve learned with grief since… don’t thank me, just listen,” and then offers this advice:
- Get the grades, but don’t trust what they teach you.
- Don’t tell them what you’re thinking; they’ll use it against you.
- Never be rational if you want to have your way.
- Ignore logic; it’ll cripple your spirit.
- Look out for abandonment by your loved ones.
- Don’t be horny after marriage.
Then, as the other boy walks away to board a flight with his family,
- Don’t mature! Mature people do the shit work!