Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (41)
4 star:
 (18)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


133 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of its kind I have ever read... amazing
This book was just spellbinding. I had no idea what to expect, and took a total flyer on it, and I was astonished. I'm a middle age family guy, and I usually trend toward action/mystery/thrillers, with an occasional drift into historical fiction and general literature. I figured I'd try something a little different, and Father of the Rain looked interesting. It would...
Published on June 24, 2010 by Nanohead

versus
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor? Editor?
I enjoyed most of this book, despite some overly broad characterizations and improbable events (friend Julie who just finished her Ph.D. is a full professor in Arizona, for example?). But when Julie's father is identified as a "radiologist" early in the book and a "psychiatrist" when he shows up to visit, it makes me wonder whether there was an editor involved here. There...
Published on December 8, 2010 by A. Braun


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

133 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of its kind I have ever read... amazing, June 24, 2010
By 
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book was just spellbinding. I had no idea what to expect, and took a total flyer on it, and I was astonished. I'm a middle age family guy, and I usually trend toward action/mystery/thrillers, with an occasional drift into historical fiction and general literature. I figured I'd try something a little different, and Father of the Rain looked interesting. It would just not be on my radar in most cases.

Its a story, told over some 40 odd years, of a small town family, mostly centered around one woman and her father. It is told through the eyes, and mind of Daley, who was born into a typical uptight, New England family in the 60's, where alcoholism, racism, sexism, and just about any other "ism" you could think of was rampant. We follow Daley from a small child, and her impressions of her life, through teen years, college and post college, into her late 20s, and then into her 40s. The early part of the book sets the stage for the family's issues and Daley's early influences. The bulk of the latter part of the book is centered around the very complex relationship Daley has with her father.

We learn of her father, her mother, their dysfunctional relationship, her father's later wives, the small town gossip, Daley's artificial beliefs, her real beliefs, all told through her growing ideological point of view, and finally, through her maturing point of view.

I cannot describe the absolute natural cadence, language and moods that Lily King has created, as the words on the page almost became real life narrative, like a movie playing in my head where I was watching real life unfold. The stitching together of time, of descriptions, of details small and large, is just mesmerizing. I simply could not put down this book.

Simply put, I was blown away, and could not stop reading. It took me 5 days, much of it on a business trip. I didn't hear the airplanes, hotel rooms, or anything else when I was reading. I was totally sucked in. I grew up during the same time period, and have some roots into the New England setting, so some of it resonated with family history. Her writing is on the scale of Richard Russo, and the richness that Ms. King deliver is simply uncanny and wonderful. Buy this book. Read this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You want the daddy you never got.", July 5, 2010
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Years ago, I sent out a birthday invitation with the theme, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." Funny - or so I thought.

But for Daley Amory, the main character of Lily King's poignant and at times heartbreaking Father of the Rain, those words are anything but funny. We meet her as an 11-year-old, torn between the liberal and do-good world of her mother and the conservative, erratic, liquor-soaked world of her charismatic and arrogant father. A WASP of the first-degree - rich, Harvard-educated, disconnected - his signature phrase, while lying on his chaise chair, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other,is, "I wonder what the poor people are doing today."

Daley soon learns the rules of engagement with her father: "In my father's culture there is no room for self-righteousness or even earnestness. To take something seriously is to be a fool. It has to be all irony, disdain and mockery. Passion is allowed only for athletics. Achievements off the court or playing field open the achiever up to ridicule. Achievement in any realm other than sports is a tell-tale sign of having taken something seriously."

This could fall into the world of stereotype or cliché - the toxic, alcoholic father and the daughter who tries to please him. But it doesn't. Lily King takes great pains to paint Gardiner Amory - the father - as damaged but not evil. It is inevitable that the grown Daley try to reconnect with him and be the savior, attempting to liberate him from his alcohol dependency...as if that would make everything all right.

Her beau will say to her: "Oh Daley...you want the daddy you never got. You want him to make your whole childhood okay...You've got it nicely cloaked in a gesture of great sacrifice."

The heartbreak, of course, is that none of us can ever "fix" another human being or get our childhood back. As Daley becomes more and more immersed in his world, falling into her charismatic and narcissistic father's gravitational orbit, the stakes get higher and higher. There is not a false note in this authentic book, which takes the reader right into the vortex of a broken family relationship gone asunder. It is a compelling psychological study of how much we give up - including our own survival - to try to save and repair those relationships that are most dear to us. In a non-manipulative way, this book will pull at your heartstrings and stay with you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "In my father's culture there is no room for self-righteousness or...earnestness. To take something seriously is to be a fool.", July 7, 2010
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
John Updike made the lives of Boston's suburban elite his territory--emphasizing their sense of entitlement and superiority, their "clubbiness," their alcoholism, and their sexual experimentation. One generation later, Lily King shares her similar insights within a similar, more "Brahmin" Massachusetts setting. Dividing her novel into three parts, she tells the story of Daley Amory, daughter of Gardiner and Meredith Amory, from her eleventh birthday, during the Presidency of Richard Nixon, through her forties and the election of Barack Obama. Though she lives for long periods of time during those years without contact with her alcoholic father, she never really escapes her need for him, even, on occasion, subsuming her own "best interests" to care for him.

With a fine eye for imagery, an unerring ear for dialogue, and a firm grasp of the depths of emotion that underlie the interplay between Daley and Gardiner, she creates a novel that establishes her themes about daughters and their fathers, a surprisingly rare subject for fiction. The novel opens on Daley's eleventh birthday, just before her mother leaves her father and persuades Daley to come with her to her parents' house in New Hampshire for the summer. Three months later, after a summer in New Hampshire, Daley returns to her former home to visit her father-and finds him living with someone else, the woman's daughter sleeping in Daley's bedroom.

Part II takes place during a going-away party for Daley in Michigan sixteen years later. Having completed her advanced degree, she is about to begin work in California. Then she gets a call saying that her father needs her. In Part III, Daley is the mother of two children. She has had no contact with her father for fifteen years. And then she gets another phone call asking her to return to see him.

Gardiner Amory is nearly impossible to like, primarily because he is so ignorant and self-satisfied. He has no interests beyond the elite little world of his town and his club. Snide and snobbish, he is a manipulator, willing to do anything to get his own way. His profanity, his alcoholic tantrums, his insulting behavior toward his succession of wives, and his flagrant sexual performances are more than many readers will want to know about. It is this last issue which, unfortunately, casts a clinker into the mix of scenes--several sexual episodes so (unnecessarily) explicit that they will, for some readers, negatively affect the thoughtfully observed mood and style of the novel overall.

Daley is sympathetic and largely believable. Though her decision to nurse her weak father emphasizes her overwhelming need for him, the length of her stay is more difficult to understand. The fact that her devotion is taken for granted, rather than appreciated, makes her stay especially hard to credit. A fascinating look at the extent to which girls and women yearn for a father and the lengths to which they will go to make that father love them, Father of the Rain is a thoughtful novel which shows the evolution of a woman who must help her father, with his limited view of life, even as her own world view is expanding. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor? Editor?, December 8, 2010
By 
A. Braun (St Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
I enjoyed most of this book, despite some overly broad characterizations and improbable events (friend Julie who just finished her Ph.D. is a full professor in Arizona, for example?). But when Julie's father is identified as a "radiologist" early in the book and a "psychiatrist" when he shows up to visit, it makes me wonder whether there was an editor involved here. There is also too much repetition, another editorial problem. Lily King is a talented writer; she deserves better support.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novel, One of the Best Books of 2010, August 7, 2010
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wow, I was expecting a good read, but is no way ready to be blown away by "Father of the Rain." Lily King has delivered one of the Best Books of 2010 and slightly edges out "Matterhorn" as my favorite read of the year.

This book gripped me like a vise from the first pages and never let me go. The story centers on Daley Amory, daughter of an alcoholic father, whose addiction finally breaks apart their family when she is in 6th grade. I really cannot find any fault with this book. It is not an easy or uplifting book as it takes an unflinching look at issues of family, divorce, addiction and bigotry. King never allows the novel to become sentimental or righteous and she excels at the broad themes mentioned above, but also the details. The dialogue is so flawless and the sense of time and place, covering 30 years, primarily in New England, is perfect.

"Father of the Rain" is about first and foremost about relationships. The center of gravity for this book is the relationship between Daley and her alcoholic father, Gardiner. This relationship, like most family relationships, has so much collateral impact which King's weaves together to create such a multi-dimensional and haunting novel that spans the emotional spectrum of love, loss, guilt and forgiveness. As a child of inamicable divorce (although not driven by addiction), King had me flashing back to my childhood, recalling many similar circumstances and feelings, opening old wounds in a raw and visceral way. It is possible this book connected with me so deeply because of the subject matter and my life experiences. It is more likely that this is just a brilliant book by a brilliant writer.

If you are going to read just a couple of books this year, make sure "Father of the Rain" is one of them. I certainly hope this book receives the recognition it deserves and cements King's reputation as a writer of great skill.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father of the Rain, September 29, 2010
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
This is the first time I have ever reviewed a book on Amazon, and I simply felt compelled to get online and do so. It was incredible. Truly. I was very impressed with the writing and voice in this book, and taken with the writer's honesty and hard work in committing this story to paper. It is difficult rendering such three-dimensional characters, and she has done this so well in Gardiner Amory, the father, who is both terribly flawed and immensely likable. The daughter's relationship with him is utterly believable, dead-on, poignant. It was a PLEASURE to read this book. Gripping, kind, compassionate, and redemptive. I whole-heartedly recommend it. Kudos, Lily King.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing the father I had, September 9, 2010
By 
Roni Jordan (Hanover, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
We read to know we're not alone, don't we? I finished this book the morning of September 6, before visiting the grave of my father who died suddenly forty-five years ago, two days before I started junior year of high school. Missing the father I adored has shaped every emotion, action, and relationship of my life, and so I believe and understand how Daley Amory put her own aspirations on hold to resurrect the father she was missing, and what she had with him until early adolescence. Beneath the hard shell of this cruel alcolohic, Daley Amory sees a father still worth loving, a relationship worth resurrecting, a broken and lonely man who's shattered so many lives and yet deserves to be saved. His drinking buddies won't do it, nor will the son or ex-wives he's driven away. He lavishes praise and affection only on his dogs, until he realizes his daughter also loves him unconditionally. So strong the bond between daughter and father - Lily King really gets it. I treasured every word and applaud her for delivering such a richly satisfying character study.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gratuitous Ending, October 12, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
The last several chapters just seemed thrown together, ill-conceived, and obvious. I really enjoyed the book up to the last 50 pages or so, particularly the last several pages - they were completely unnecessary, lazy even I would venture to say, and gratuitous in political stance....completely and distractingly unnecessary - shame because it had the makings of a excellent novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compulsively Readable, June 25, 2010
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Without question, Lily King is a fine writer. And this is a an incredibly accurate portrayal of a daughter trying to traverse the impossible chasm between herself and her alcoholic father. Gardiner Amory is someone I feel I've encountered many times over the years: educated, angry, occasionally whimsical, and most of the time en route to being in a state of raging drunkenness. King's depiction of this man is just flawless, as is her depiction of daughter Daley's efforts to deal with the madness alcohol too often brings into the lives of an alcoholic's family. The depiction of Daley's efforts is the most successful and most truthful aspect of the book. It is this ongoing battle that makes the tale so compulsively readable. What brings the book down are the (mercifully few) too-graphic sexual scenes--both those witnessed by Daley as a child and those in which she is a participant. They are so inelegant that they drag down the narrative and are absolutely wince-provoking. It's hard to decide what author King intended to achieve with these few scenes but the book definitely suffers from the ugly images she has painted. That said, it is a worthwhile book, even an important one. Rarely have I read a novel that got it so right when it comes to alcoholism and its pernicious effects on everyone near to the alcoholic. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "It's 1952 in Ashing. And it always will be.", August 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Father of the Rain: A Novel (Hardcover)
It's the nineteen-seventies, and at the center of this novel about a painful father-daughter relationship is Gardiner Amory, an well-bred (St. Paul's, Harvard), well-to-do (old money), tennis playing alcoholic who is suspicious of intellectuals, venerates athletics, avoids vegetables, votes Republican, loves dogs, wears red pants, and belongs to a club that excludes blacks and Jews. John Cheever would know what to do with this guy. The Amory family lives in Ashing, a North Shore Massachusetts town straight out of John Updike-land. His daughter Daley is caught in the middle of a divorce in which all parties, but particularly Dad, behave in execrable fashion (alcohol + vulgarity + sex). Is it any wonder that she becomes a well-bred (local private school), less well-to-do, sports-avoiding vegetarian intellectual (anthropology) who avoids dogs, refuses to go to the club, votes Democratic, dresses sloppily, and becomes involved with a black man? There you have the conflict of "Father of the Rain." I won't say whether or not there is any redemption for this fraught relationship, except to say that the novel ends with the election of Obama.

The novel certainly sets forth, in detailed fashion, the pain that alcoholism inflicts on a family. Told in the present tense, from the perspective of Daley, it sometimes has the confessional quality of a memoir, although it is fiction. The character of Gardiner, however, never comes really alive; for most of the novel, he lives comfortably in his stock WASP persona, and it is often difficult to understand why Daley nearly ruins her life to try and save him.
The novel, at 384 pages, seems long; there are many passages of banal, predictable dialogue and many scenes (breastfeeding at the beach, shopping for preppy clothes, Thanksgiving dinner, and so on) where the inclusion of every little detail slows the pace of the narrative. Some of this detail is downright wince-worthy; a hot dog becomes "a pink tube of pig intestine," a lactating woman's breasts are "pale raw tubers."

If you like contemporary novels about family relationships, you may enjoy this novel. However, as one who loves the hard-drinking preppies of the stories and novels of Cheever and Updike, I wish there had been more to Gardiner Amory than a set of prejudices, a certain zip code, a tennis racket, and a bottle of gin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Father of the Rain: A Novel
Father of the Rain: A Novel by Lily King (Hardcover - July 6, 2010)
$24.00 $16.88
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.