As the acting Editor of Magic City Morning Star Online News, I receive a lot of publicity material. When I all too quickly read the publicity material for Patrick McKnight's book 'Daddy Loves You', I was intrigued by the subject matter. The story revolves around a father's undying love for his child from whom he is estranged. Having been in that situation, I was curious to learn what I could from the author's perspective. When I first read the publicity material and agreed to do a review, I didn't realize that it was in fact a novel. Although disappointed over my error, I read the book anyway because from the author's biography I understood that he was acquainted with the dilemma facing men who become estranged from their children.
|By Patrick McKnight|
I am not a literary editor or a professional book reviewer but I have had to read some reviews that have come across my desk and I sometimes cringe at how a book can be pulled to pieces by a reviewer. (It's worse when it is your own book.) Patrick McKnight originally wrote this story as a screenplay and after some encouragement, transformed it into a novel. I have no doubt that a professional literary editor or book reviewer could find a lot to criticize in it. But one cannot be a book reviewer without actually reading the book, and as a 'non professional' book reviewer, it is the story itself that must be my focus. How would a reader feel in reading this book? How did I feel?
I am not ashamed to say that I hated the ending -- because it literally made me cry. I am not going to write a 'spoiler' but I do so wish that there had been a different ending. As the theme of the book is that 'fathers DO love their children,' I understand the author's reasoning for that particular and certainly effective ending. The point was certainly driven home: 'Fathers do love their children!'
That Mr. McKnight has had firsthand experience with estrangement from his children is abundantly clear. His description of the father's reaction to seeing his daughter for the first time in 12 years is not just a literary device. He knows a father's struggle with adrenaline and fear, the shortness of breath and the uncontrollable shaking as he attempts to calm down and not make a fool of himself. He also beautifully describes a father's feelings of injustice and helplessness in trying to reach out to a child whose life has been affected by lies, prejudice and resentment. Some of the more moving passages I encountered were:
It was apparent that she really didn't want to be here at all and her resentment of him was becoming clearer with every smart-ass word that came out of her mouth.... She fully intended to make him as uncomfortable as she possible could.
Chad watched her, helplessly, wanting to do whatever he could to ease her pain.
"All I wanted was to see you, spend time with you, and be part of your life -- to be your daddy. There is so much I missed out on and to be honest, after so many years, I don't know what to say to you. You're not the 3 year old girl that I knew so well."
He had tossed and turned most of the night, racking his brain trying to find a way to get through the invisible wall she had built between the two of them.
The irony of it all is that he needed her in his life as much as she needed him. He wanted that and didn't know how to get that through to her. All she knew was the past -- and he wasn't much of a part of it. Would she let him into her life now?
You will have to read the book if you want to know the answer to that last question. The EBook [NOOK BOOK] sells for $6.99 at Barnes and Noble and at that link you can find a link beside the BUY NOW button that will allow you to get a free sample of the book.
The Overview at the Barnes and Noble link reads:
"Daddy Loves You" is a book filled with adventure, anguish, comical antics, and literally pulls you into the lives of the characters. This is a story that focuses on the lives of a man and his estranged daughter who suddenly, and unexpectedly, comes back into his life after 12 years. This story takes you on a ride of an emotional roller coaster as he tries to do the right thing for his mother and daughter. You will cry, laugh, and cry again as he walks you through his life trying to get to know his 15 year old...
It is an accurate description. The story includes so many facets of the human experience through the various characters. The book is not a long book and it certainly could have been fleshed out a bit more but I have absolutely no doubt that WHEN it is turned into a movie, it is going to be a great tear jerker.
It is my personal belief that for all our political correctness, we live in a very nasty and unforgiving world in which people will do and say anything to win whatever it is that they are striving to win. McKnight is rather generous toward and forgiving of the main characters in this story, but he also doesn't mince his words. Life really is a bitch for a lot of people. The grace of God falls equally on the just and the unjust and despite the Hollywood movies, not all baddies are punished or all innocents rewarded.
I will give the book 5/5 because it moved me deeply. Whatever the literary shortcomings -- it is a damn good read.