| The Story Plant|
14 September 2021
My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
Three generations of dads, playing traditional roles in each other's lives, arrive simultaneously at significant crossroads. The decisions they make and the actions they take will directly - and eternally - affect each other. After a life of hard work and raising children, Robert is enjoying his well-deserved retirement when he discovers that he has an illness he might not be able to beat.
At 19, Jonah is sprinting across the threshold of adulthood when he learns, stunningly, that he's going to become a father. And Oliver - Robert's son and Jonah's dad - has entered middle age and is paying its demanding price. While reconciling the time and effort it has taken him to reach an unfulfilling career and an even less satisfying marriage, he realizes that it's imperative that he keep it all together for the two men who mean everything to him.
When different perspectives lead to misunderstandings that remain unspoken - sometimes for years - it takes great strength and even more love to travel beyond the resentment. Dad: A Novel chronicles the sacred legacy of fatherhood.
Manchester intended for the novel to “pull back the curtain and reveal the inner-workings of male relationships within the family unit.” Since many men have difficulty expressing their emotions, he wanted to change the narrative. Manchester has “endeavored to chronicle the sacred legacy of fatherhood, while capturing the why for many men.”
Raymond A. Levy, founder and director of the Fatherhood Project, said “Dad: A Novel demonstrates the psychological power and importance of fatherhood and a father’s love. This is a welcome addition to the culture’s growing interest in and appreciation for fathers’ emotional engagement with their family.” USA Today bestselling author Robert Dugoni called it, “A must read for men of all ages.” And Greg Bishop, founder of Daddy Boot Camp, said “Few fathers know how important they are to their kids and Steven Manchester's, Dad: A Novel has the potential to show them. Mothers may appreciate it even more.”
In Dad we meet three generations of the Earle family, all have different attitudes, hopes and expectations but what draws these three men irrevocably together is that they have a common bond of fatherhood. A grandfather, father and son, all take their specific place in this absorbing story of just what it means to be, quite simply, a dad, and as the old adage goes, any man be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.
Each of them have their own specific worries which impacts on the story in a meaningful way. Patriarch, Robert, now retired, is facing some distressing health worries and is caught between looking back at his life, and his hopes for the future for his son and grandson. Caught in the middle is Oliver who is at a sort of crossroads and is left worrying about the meaning of his life as a father caught up in an unsatisfactory marriage, whilst his son, Jonah, at just nineteen, with his life drifting ahead of him, discovers that, unexpectedly, he is going to be a dad for the first time. As these three very different men face up to the challenges of their lives, they each learn something important about themselves, and each other, in the process.
As always this talented author gets right into the heart of family life and brings meaning and understanding to these important cross generational dilemmas and shows how, with love and kindness, one generation can help those who are following in their footsteps. If we are honest with ourselves all family relationships are complicated and perhaps none more so than for dads who wear so many different guises through the course of their lives, and I think this story shows their vulnerability, along with their strengths.
Dad is a heartwarming, and rather poignant, multi-generational story about the poignancy of ever changing family dynamics, the bonds of fatherhood and the choice of learning from mistakes and going forward into a new understanding of what it means to be , quite simply, a dad.
Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island; the national bestsellers, Ashes, The Changing Season and Three Shoeboxes; the multiaward-winning novel, Goodnight Brian; and the beloved holiday podcast drama, The Thursday Night Club. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show and BET’s Nightly News.