Maybe it’s just what I choose to read, but it seems to me that I’ve not read many books with father figures I just adore. Mothers, yes – Kate Murry from A Wrinkle in Time, Lamott’s Operating Instructions, Mrs. Mularkey in Firefly Lane. Not perfect mothers, of course, but mothers I appreciate and respect.
For the life of me, on this Father’s Day, I’m really having trouble pulling up the books where father character’s shine. James Baldwin does discuss his father in “Notes from a Native Son,” but his dad isn’t really present in that essay. Father figures crop up – like Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. But good, solid fathers those are rare I think.
I could philosophize about why that might be – disregard for the father, the epidemic of absent fathers in our culture, etc – but I don’t really want to do that because, as I said before, it could simply be my choice of reading that gives me this impression.
I can say this, though – I’d really like to read a great dad in a book. Given that I have the world’s greatest father, this feat will require superb writing ability and, dare I say it, familiarity with a great dad. But I know many of those – my friends and my friends’ husbands, men I go to church with, and men I’ve just men on life’s path, men who have biological children, men who have adopted children, men who don’t have any children at all. So writers, you have models – I can’t wait to see the fathers you write.
In the meantime, can you recommend some great books that include great fathers? I know they must be out there, right?