I was asked to review the book, In Search of Fatherhood by Kevin Renner. I figured I would read it and then make my comments from my viewpoint, even though it is written by a father and was probably meant more for my husband.
And then, in the intro, I read, “There are no requirements whatsoever for fatherhood, beyond the ability to fertilize an egg. Can’t fruit flies do that?”
And I had no answer for that. Because, as a mother, I feel like the requirements for me are often overwhelming and for my husband are minimal. Almost as if it is my responsibility to make sure he has little responsibility inside the home.
I kept reading and was hit with a truth that Kevin Renner, the author, admits to and so many men probably hide. He hated his work. And because of that, he was irritable, short tempered, and feeling like he was spinning his wheels with no end in sight. He certainly did not feel as though he was a good father to his two daughters. Even though others thought he was.
So, after being laid off from his job, he decided to find out how fathers really impact their daughter’s lives. By this time I was hooked and intrigued by the answers that the author might come up with on his unique journey to interview and document the stories of women and their relationships -the good, the bad, the dysfunctional and the horrific – with their dads.
I was soon introduced to the lives, loves, pains, and father daughter relationships of 50 very different, but amazing, woman. Narrated by a father who saw a little bit of his daughters in each story.
As I read the stories of women who have been loved by their fathers, ignored by their fathers, lost their fathers, ran from their fathers, and never knew their fathers, my heart ached, tears fell, and I longed to hug most of them. I was struck by their brutal honesty and openness. Especially since the author was a stranger to most of them. I don’t know if it is more a credit to the women who allowed their emotions to shine through in the accounts of their lives with their fathers (and step fathers) or if the author just had a way of bringing it out in them, but the raw emotion and regaling stories are addicting and touching.
As is Mr. Renner’s writing. His ability to let their stories shine through while still teaching us the lessons he learns is true talent. I saw my father in this book. I saw my daughter’s father in this book. And I saw my husband’s father in this book.
And I understand them all a little better now. As I do myself.
My husband, in his spare time of working, fixing up our house, and trying to be the best father he can, is reading this book now. I am anxious to ask him what he thinks but want to wait until he is finished. I want him to feel the personal connection to the author and the women, as I did. And I want it to impact him as much as it will impact anyone who reads it.
Put it on your summer reading list, order it for your husband, father, brother or any other father to daughters in your life.
It will open your eyes to the complexity of men, the honesty of women, and the relationships and bonds of a father and a daughter. And it will surprise you too.