The next book up for review is The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler. This book was another first-read from goodreads.com.
Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters’ lives would be like without him. “Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?”
Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters’ lives. And he would call this group “The Council of Dads.”
“I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives,” he wrote to these men. “They’ll have loving families. They’ll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?”
The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters–how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America.
This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.
Just by reading the description of this story I knew it was going to be a tearjerker. The book did not disappoint. Right from the first chapter, I found myself emotionally attached the the author and his family. I needed to read more to find out how they survived during the author’s year-long ordeal.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the chapter layout. The first chapter in this pattern was a letter written by the author to his friends and family. This was followed by a chapter introducing one of the “dads” to the reader. The last chapter was one in which the “dad” and Feiler discussed what that dad would pass along to the author’s children if he passed. While it was possible for these chapters to feel disjointed, each worked well together to tell a complete story.
The chapters consisting of the letters were my favorite. One of the reasons I enjoyed these so much is that they were able to give an update about the author’s condition with a human touch. They discussed things such as Feiler’s heath and how his family had been coping with his illness. I found these chapters were a a great tool to help pace the story. They were a great way to quickly cover several months worth of time while still keeping the reader informed.
As the author was telling a very personal story, I could of easily felt like an outsider throughout the book. The lack of experience I have with dealing with cancer in my family could of made it hard to relate to the journey told. Neither of these things was a problem. The author does such a fantastic job telling his story that you feel like you are right there with him. You celebrate his highs as if they are your own. When he is suffering you wish that you were there to support him. The author’s ability to make his journey your own helps make this book a must read.
Review: This was a fantastic read that was impossible to put down. The author had my interest and I was riveted throughout his year long battle. Despite the fact I had little in common with the author, I found myself often relating to his situation and enjoying his story.