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The Prodigal Father Paperback – May 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moved by footage of a homeless man in a Boston snowstorm, Fox TV news anchorman DuPre embarked on a midlife quest to find his own indigent father. A "hero" in his son's young eyes, Robert DuPre had been a bright, successful FBI agent turned well-respected civil rights attorney in South Carolina, the kind of father who "never missed a chance to praise his boys." But these idyllic beginnings gradually turned dark. The author effectively traces his dysfunctional family history through uncomfortable afternoons in strangers' living rooms while his father visited with one of his mistresses in the bedroom; cold nights on the curb in front of the YMCA, waiting until midnight for his father to pick him up from early-evening basketball practice; and his father's drunken rages in the makeshift basement of the family "dream home" for which there was never quite enough money to finish building. Luckily, a few interested coaches and teachers helped the author through high school, junior college and Brigham Young University, where he discovered a love for journalism and met his (soon-to-be Miss Utah) wife. But happiness at home and success at work never completely silenced DuPre's inner demons. He felt compelled to confront his father with his questions, his anger and his fear that his father's fate would somehow become his ownAand ultimately found release in the encounter. Because this is the son's story, not the father's, the title parable is less apt here than that of a Hero's Journey; this is the gripping tale of DuPre's own expedition into the dark forest of childhood to slay the three-headed monster of fear, anger and guilt, and to return healed and whole. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; First Edition edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561706744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561706747
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Devon Marcus on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book from cover to cover without putting it down. It is an immensely entertaining, moving, and inspirational book about a seemingly perfect man (handsome, successful, great family) who is tortured by the memory of his childhood, and of his lawyer father, who left the family when the author was 14 and then ended up homeless, by choice. In order for the author to deal with his life, he has to search out his long-lost father and find out, "Why! " Anyone who's ever been a family member will relate to this marvelous book, which should be a bestseller, if there's any justice in the world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dorean C. Kimball on May 21, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book difficult to put down possibly because I was searching also to see why Jon's father became the person he did.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "johnmol" on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The subject of Jon Du Pre's book, his father, Robert Owen Dupre [one word], aged 73, is still a homeless person in Tucson, Az. Bob Dupre is presented by his son as a complex, sometimes friendly and helpful and sometimes out of control and neglectful father. Jon characterizes his post childhood relationship with Bob as first, for most of his adult life, feelings of chaos and some devestation and then ultimately discovering strong feelings of forgiveness, gained through finding Bob and facing his feelings in a forecful and sometimes angry but very brief reunion in San Diego in the mid 90's. Bob remained homeless, mostly in Tucson, Az., and was not again ever genuinely contacted by Jon.
For Jon, the issue he says is PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jon does not use the word child abuse, but he describes a great deal of it, stressing childhood memories of chaotic and poverty stricken times and broken relationships, and especially from his Dad, neglect.
It is not as popular as it used to be to discuss child abuse openly, and some therapy groups now deny [mostly falsely I believe] most claims of the more serious kinds of abuse. It is thus in the new century [unnecessarily I think] difficult for people like Jon to tell the entire truth. Jon uses amorphous and non-controlled narrative segnments to highlight his memories and feelings, but the feelings and some of the memories come through very powerfully.
Homelessness also produces much PTSD. Jon's father faces surgery for two cataracts next month at the local VA hospital in Tucson. I bought Bob a begal and coffee yesterday at Brugers Begals at Congress and Stone in downtown Tucson and tried to get a special residency for Bob at a local shelter because of his eye problems. I failed. Read the book; its a very good one!
John Patrick Molloy
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DiggerSigmaChi on November 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never felt so personally attached to a book in my life. Jon became my friend on the first few pages, and there were times, like I told him in an e-mail that I wanted to shake him good for contributing to his father's addictions. Then my attitude would change. He never ceased being my friend though.
Having a rather awkward relationship with my own father made this story "real" to me. I never went to the lengths Jon did to "make it right."
I recommend this book to everyone, because everyone can find themselves in this unbelievable story of the human spirit and the will of a young man to "make things right." I'm sorry there are only 5 stars I could give this book.
I hope those of you who have read this fantastic story will agree with me when I take words from the Forward and say, Jon, you took the "right sense" way. Thank you again for writing it, and bearing your soul to all of us who needed to read it.
Ron
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ken LaCorte on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I rarely find myself drawn to "relationship" stories, but Prodigal Father was terrific. I found myself drawn to each chapter and couldn't put it down until I hit the last page.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rory Richardson on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for all! I found myself captivated from the first paragraph to the final word. Jon was able to pull me in to his world which caused me to reflect on my own past. Even though my background is different from Jon's, I was still able to relate. I could feel Jon and his brother's triumphs, heartaches, and pain. I was touched by his wife and children's generosity and selflessness. I laughed and cried while reading this touching story. I thank Jon for not letting his story die, but for sharing it with us.I highly recommend this book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is *not* just another Oprah-book. It is unsentimental: every emotion and insight is dearly earned. One of the most interesting things about it is that Du Pre doesn't come off as a very likable person in the middle stages of the book; he presents himself as self-absorbed and harsh with those around him. His final confrontation with his father is wrenching and unforgettable. The message of this book: you have to face down your demons in order to be a complete human being. Not a very "New Age" or touchy-feely moral. The author's Mormon background is a central part of his story, and should interest readers who are curious about that religion. This book reminds me of Mikal Gilmore's masterful "Shot in the Heart", William Kennedy's great novel "Ironweed", and Geoffrey Wolff's memoir "The Duke of Deception": august company, indeed.
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