What makes a good father good, and what makes him feel like a fraud Does less-is-more parenting inspire independence and strength, or does it encourage defiance and trouble Kickflip Boys is the story of a father’s struggle to understand his willful skateboarder sons challengers of authority and convention to accept his unconventional role as a vulnerable “skate dad,” and to confront his fears that their out-of-bounds lifestyle will lead them too far afield.
With searing honesty, Neal Thompson traces his sons’ progression through the escalating stages of skateboarding, from the innocent days of splurging on skate shoes and boards to skipping classes and defying teachers, to run-ins with security guards and cops, to graffiti, drinking, smoking, and beyond. As the story veers from skate parks to the streets, from funny to treacherous and back, Thompson must confront his complicity and fallibility. He also reflects on his upbringing in rural New Jersey, and his own adventures with skateboards, drugs, danger, and defiance.
A story of thrill-seeking teens, of hope and love, freedom and failure, Kickflip Boys reveals a sport and a community that have become a refuge for boys who resist mainstream expectations as they seek their own path. Ultimately, it’s a deeply moving survival story of a loving modern American family, of acceptance, forgiveness, and letting go.
About the Author
Neal Thompson is a journalist and author of the critically-acclaimed biography A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley. Thompson's magazine writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Men's Health. He lives in Seattle with his family.
"An honest account of raising creative, rebellious boys who happen to love skateboarding. Having been through the fire of raising a few free-thinking boys myself, I found Kickflip Boys to be fun, moving, raw, and relatable." - Tony Hawk
"Excellent. . . . Thompson's remarkably honest account of fatherhood presents a scary, funny, and reflective read all at once." - Library Journal (starred review)
"Kickflip Boys is an amazing chronicle of parenthood, but what makes it so striking, so beautiful, is how well Neal Thompson not only understands the struggles of parenting, but also the strangeness of adolescence. It's empathetic, and funny, and Neal Thompson nails it." - Kevin Wilson
"Heartfelt. . . . This memoir will provide humor and comfort for parents figuring out their kids." - Publishers Weekly