Every once in a while an author comes along who writes novels that are so powerfully compelling, poignant, and thought provoking, that they pull at the heartstrings and stir the soul. For me, that author is Steven Manchester and his latest novel, Dad.
Dad is a wonderful story about the complicated dynamics of father/son family relationships that will simply pull at your emotional heartstrings. Author Steven Manchester weaves a richly descriptive tale that follows the emotional journey of the legacy of fatherhood experienced at different stages of life that spans three generations of Earle men: grandfather Robert, son Oliver, and grandson Jonah. The Earles' journey is filled with a multi-layered complexity filled with humor, animosity, unresolved dysfunctional father/son issues, regrets, healing of old wounds, new life experiences, and an emotional second chance to renew the bonds between fathers and sons.
Grandfather Robert is seventy-two and enjoying the fruits of retirement, until he is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Robert wants to take stock of his life, and find a way to make up for all the lost time he squandered by putting other people before his own son Oliver.
Son Oliver is struggling through a middle-life crisis, always worrying about his marriage, job, his relationship with his father Robert, and his parenting skills with daughter Layla and son Jonah. His father's terminal prognosis prompts Oliver to find a way to fight for his marriage, change his parental relationship with his kids (especially Jonah), let go of old resentments, and get the father-son relationship that he always wanted with his Dad before he passes away.
Grandson Jonah is nineteen and living a carefree lifestyle living in his parents' basement, and has grown up addicted to playing video games. He's in his first year of college and is still undecided on a major, he feels lost and doesn't want to study, he unrealistically fantasizes that he can make a career out of competitive video gaming e-sports. All that changes when his girlfriend Marissa tells him that she's pregnant, and suddenly he is faced with a life-changing event: becoming a grownup with upcoming responsibilities.
The reader will be easily captivated and drawn into the Earles' sentimental and touchingly realistic journey. The author does a wonderful job of intertwining the Earles' father/son relationships in an alternating third person narrative that delves into their complex pasts with the difficulties that they face in their present lives. You can't help but get swept away and experience the full gamut of emotions as the Earles face a crossroad in their lives as they hash out their unresolved dysfunctional family dynamic, while considering the intense and difficult choices of how to deal with their current life issues. Grandfather Robert is the catalyst that brings the Earle men together with his wisdom, tough love, and humor. Funny how father/son relationships ebb and flow as life events can bring family members together with a mending and bonding of relationships with an added touch of heart.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I really loved that author Steven Manchester provides the reader with a fresh breath of air with his amazing story that delves into the not that often written about dynamic of father/son relationships. Kudos on an beautifully poignant story.
Dad is an powerful and compelling story written from the heart. It is a must read that will make you ponder your own family dynamic (especially the father/son relationships), stir your soul, and resonate with you for a very long time.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I was given a free copy of this novel by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a life-changing book! As a father, this novel spoke to me and tied in faith with family. Highly recommend this book! Manchester is a fantastic author!
I really love 'lad lit'. I also women's fiction. This book was neither. Lad lit tends to be on the more humourous or wry side, and women's fiction can range from deep and emotional through to chick lit. I haven't really seen lad lit that is deeper, and I certainly haven't seen books about generations of men. Great book, and one that I'd recommend to men or women. I loved the characters, and the interactions between the characters, as well as the story, which was very well written. Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!
How many novels have you read where there are generations of women? Grandmother/mother/daughter. If you are like me, the answer is hundreds.
This is a generational family novel - about the MEN. Totally different! When I received an ARC from #netgalley I was pretty excited to try something new.
And the results are........*drumroll please*..... I loved it!
Although I really liked all three men, the older - Robert, was my favorite. Even when it wasn't his point of view, he had these little one liners that I could hear my dad saying. Like telling his son with brown eyes that they were brown because "he was full of shit". He also had some fabulous advice about life. Knowing he was ill, and he might not recover, he wanted to impart all of his advice.
Oliver, the middle aged man, was my husband and all the men I know this age with their thinning hair, using a CPAP and getting soft in the middle. I could just feel his mid-life crisis that he was trying to avoid.
I loved being able to read the thoughts from a male point of view. And I thought this was beautifully written.
Side note: When people say that a book is beautifully written, I often shy away because that often equates to boring in my opinion. But in this case i wasn't bored for a moment. I had actually never heard of this author but now will be looking for more books by him.
A poignant, tender family journey that holds love, fear, acceptance, hope and anticipation!
Truly a story that will have you reading and re-reading pages when patriarch, Robert speaks to his son, Oliver, and his family.
Robert has had a life well-lived, but the clock is running out for him and he has so much more to tell.
Will there be enough time to say it all? Can his family listen and understand?
There are so many lessons to be learned for both the characters inside these pages and the readers while they turn the pages of this novel.
Do yourself a favor, don't let time run out!
Read this book! It is what we all could use at this time!
"It's folks' attitudes that decide how happy they are, and what they think of those around them. People carry judgements with them--good or bad." Robert smiled. "The one person you can never escape from is yourself, so make sure you keep a good attitude."