When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transfo rmative Experience of Fatherhood by Brian Gresko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having never read a collection of essays from different authors before (I know. What have I been doing all my life?), I have to admit that it was a welcome experience and one I would like to embark on again. That is, of course, if I ever have the time to read since my daughter is coming very, very soon. Like, within five weeks soon. So I'm trying to get as much reading in as possible before the due date. Thankfully, I'm happy I took the time with this book, which speaks about the "Transformative experience of Fatherhood," as it's good. Really good.
Initially, I thought this book would be pretty lame (It was recommended to me at a book store when I asked if they had any books on parenting) because I was certain every piece from the 22 authors here would sound pretty much the same. Fatherhood is hard but rewarding, yada yada yada, that sort of thing. But I was surprised to see the honesty and variety in this book. There are passages about being surrogate fathers, being divorced fathers, being broken fathers, being sick fathers, etc, and in doing so, it provides a very diverse and interesting viewpoint on fatherhood. Like children, no two fathers are alike. For that reason, I took great enjoyment out of reading this book.
That said, some of the writers seemed much better than others. Benjamin Percy, who I now want to read every book he's ever written, has, in my mind, the best piece in this book, and mostly because it's about himself. I think what a lot of what was missing in this book is just how much the father themselves is affected as a human being, and his piece, "Your Own Worst Enemy," felt the realest to me. I may just be saying that since I'm not technically a father yet, and I still cling to the notion that being a father doesn't mean you lose being an individual, but the writing for that piece felt the cleanest and the best-written, while some other pieces in this book didn't feel as interesting or honest.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for any man who is about to become a father. There is much to learn here, as well as to enjoy.
View all my reviews