Books · Family & Friends

The Wednesday Five: Fathers & Daughters

In this week’s Wednesday 5, we are thinking of Father’s Day (coming up on June 21) and the dynamic and unique relationship between fathers and daughters. There have been some stunning bodies of literature on this bond—its complexities, its triumphs, its joys, its failures, its catalyzing moments, and its absences. Here are five compelling books that shed light on the fascinating relationship between fathers and daughters.

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Lovely-Bones

The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family’s dramas over the years as if it were an episode of My So-Called Afterlife. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer and shows the lengths a father will go to get to the bottom of his daughter’s fate.

 

Glass-Castle

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Later, when the money ran out, Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

 

Ramona-Her-Father

Seven-year-old Ramona Quimby’s world is turned upside-down when her father unexpectedly loses his job. Things grow tense in the Quimby house, but Ramona resolves to help in any way she can—even downsizing her Christmas list. But with bills piling up and her parents constantly stressed, Ramona wonders if life will ever go back to normal. Beverly Cleary’s Newbery Honor Book depicts an average middle-class family dealing with the realities of life. With the perfect mix of humor and warmth, Ramona shines as a spirited girl with her heart set on helping.

 

18079527

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories. The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

 

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“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

A lawyer’s advice to his daughter as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

 

(Excerpts taken from the publisher.)

 

 

 

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