In advance of Father’s Day every year, library staff think of ways to promote stories about fathers and fatherhood. When I saw the opportunity to write a blog post to mark the occasion, I had the idea to highlight books which explore the complicated relationships that many (most?) of us develop with our dads.
In searching out these stories, I expected that I would have to wade through a current of warm and fuzzy fiction populated by excruciatingly happy families with uniformly positive male role models; like something out of a Hallmark card. Au contraire! I can report that books of this sort are rather overwhelmed by other, messier stories that represent the full diversity of what fatherhood can mean.
In fact, I was so spoilt for choice that I organized the books into different categories – fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novel – and limited myself to four titles each. Whatever “fatherhood” means to you, I hope you’ll find something to interest you from this selection.
A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
Pedal by Chelsea Rooney
Medicine Walk: a novel by Richard Wagamese
The Lost Language of Cranes: a novel by David Leavitt
The Theft of Memory: losing my father one day at a time by Jonathan Kozol
Detachment: an adoption memoir by Maurice Mierau
Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter: essays by S. Bear Bergman
When you’re a transgender parent, the discussion of what fatherhood means takes on an entirely new dimension.
Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller
A Matter of Life and Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
Two books and two very different perspectives on fatherhood by the celebrated graphic novelist.
A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting by Guy Delisle
Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Bechdel recently won a Tony Award for the theatrical adaptation of Fun Home.