Writing to her father in the second person, Madison all but erases herself from her own memoir. The reader will sometimes feel the lack of context, background, and character-building around the narrator herself. Readers seeing her only in connection to her father will wonder who she is independent of him; yet she seems almost to resolutely turn the lens away from herself and use her experiences only as a conduit through which to portray a man with whom she had a complex, deeply loving relationship.
Many of the snapshots of Madison’s father show a parent doing unremarkable things: caring for a sick child, arriving to the airport an hour early, helping a little too much with homework, taking a Sunday nap. But Madison writes, “Nothing you did for us was simply ordinary,” and she takes care to show the beauty, fun, and love in these quiet moments and small gestures. The stories read like a catharsis for the author, a final love letter to the man whose indelible presence shaped her upbringing and will surely continue to guide her future.
Takeaway: Readers looking for a touching, tender father-daughter story will gravitate toward this memoir of a charming, attentive, and deeply caring father gone too soon.
Great for fans of Sarah Tomlinson, Jeannette Walls.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: C
In celebration of my dad's birthday month, Happy Father's Day in eBook format is available for $1 during the month of July.
Happy Birthday, my Old Bean!