At first glance, once might be quick to think Lost In Space is a bit out of focus, with chapters haphazardly placed in a disarray of confusion without sense of purpose or time. I would argue that it is exactly this “confused,” cyclonic chapter arrangement that genuinely adds to the overall theme of loss of identity, struggling to find oneself and one's role in society and parenthood. Tanzer’s writing style also mimics his thought process of parental confusion and internal struggle. Together, the non-linear chapters and writing style leave the reader in a whirlwind of thoughts, circulating, some repeating, some changing and reshaping, and all the while revealing Ben Tanzer - his thought process and his message, “Lost in Space.” There is a very spastic, daydream quality to it all . . . ah, the dreamer, the storyteller!
Such amazing stories he shares. Tanzer writes so fluidly from one thought to the next, although non-linearly, still making everything feel organic - complete stream of conscious. Every emotion, every thought he expressed comes across genuinely, as if he is speaking to you from across the table or sitting in the living room, no artifice at all. Tanzer bares his soul in Lost in Space, having the courage as a writer to not only share the good in how he feels on parenthood, but his fears, the downsides of noticing other women while he is married, all the while knowing people aren’t always ready or capable of handling honesty, but he writes it all the same. He writes it for himself and for his sons. I appreciate that, because as I mentioned before, women - people for that matter - don’t often get to hear this perspective. So, an unfiltered, honest, raw version with comments about hot girls and questioning manhood right next to a chapter of movies to watch with your son separated by categories such as "Movies That Make Me So Nostalgic for High School That I Want to Force Myself to Sit through Them Even Though We Didn’t Go to High School Together" is much needed by the masses in my book.
I was emotionally hooked from the beginning. Tanzer easily draws you in and holds you there. That being said, truly, the book had the geek in me sold at:
"I thought I might start this piece in the following way: Hi, my name is Ben T., and I watched Star Wars twenty-five times when I was ten years old. But, that seems too writerly, right? I think so, so let me say this: Star Wars is a touchstone for me, maybe even the touchstone for understanding my childhood, and even more so as a parent."
Lost in Space is a memoir about parenthood, a son’s relationship with his father, marriage, and also finding oneself in a sea of chaos and expectations. Ben Tanzer becomes the everyman, searching for his place . . . fearing he will make the wrong choice. Anyone who has spent time around children as a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, sibling, pastor, neighbor, clerk, etc. can appreciate the poignant observations Tanzer makes. As they say, it takes a village.