From Publishers Weekly
This collection of honest, straightforward examinations of fathers is sweet and well-meaning, though sometimes overwhelming in its sentiment. It shares father-child remembrances—of seeing movies together, eating sandwiches together, singing show tunes in the pool together—from Roker and other celebrities and quasi-celebrities, including actor B.D. Wong, NPR's Nina Totenberg, singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt, wine maker Robert Mondavi and Roker's Today Show
buddies Katie Couric, Ann Curry and Matt Lauer. Nearly every essay explores fatherhood from the point of view of a son or daughter, though the Daily Show
's Jon Stewart explains it from a dad's standpoint. The key to paternity, he says, is low expectations: "I just hope that when I look at [my young son], he doesn't cry. In that sense, I've already achieved my goal." Donald Trump's one-pager reveals that his father taught him to "be responsible," while many other stories pertain to dad's encouragement, like LPGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott's tale of how her pops taught her "everything was possible." Indeed, the book brims with happy memories, although there's the occasional regretful remembrance, too. In the final piece, Roker reminds readers that when dad's no longer here, it's up to his kids to fill his "Big Shoes" and keep walking. (May)
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According to Roker, the jolly (though less rotund than he once was) weatherman on Today
, fathers don't get the attention they deserve. Who, for instance, mouths "Hi, Dad" into a television camera? To help fathers everywhere raise themselves up a few rungs on the familial hierarchy, Roker and about 40 of his closest friends tell their own dad stories. There's Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, of course, with Katie talking about how her dad instilled in her the capacity for curiosity and Matt remembering how his dad showed respect for his mom even after their divorce. But there are some unexpected, diverse names here, too, like Vijay Singh (his father was a casual golfer on Fiji, where the sport was rarely played), Donald Trump (his father taught him to be responsible), and Susan Lucci (she compares her loving, compassionate father to her soap character's monstrous dad). The stories range from silly to funny to heartfelt (the recent death of Bonnie Raitt's father, John, for example, adds poignancy to her reflections). From sports figures to journalists to entertainment stars, the words of these various celebrities effectively make Roker's case for the importance of fatherhood--and, not incidentally, should make the book a popular gift item this June. Mary Frances WilkensCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved