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The Faith of a Child Paperback – February 26, 2010
"Well written, sensitive and poignant...a must-read for any man becoming a father for the first time. Full of stories that will at times have the reader laughing out loud and at other times thinking deeply..." --Wayne Parker, About.com
"an amazing piece of artwork. Intricate in it's written style...One man's journey to... become and be dad...I don't think I have ever seen a better "dad guide" anywhere, anytime --John Taylor, TheDaddYo Blog review
"This is quite simply a work of literature and a work of art. It's been a long time since I read something that resonated so deeply that it could draw out the emotions I feel as a first-time father." --Chris Singer, BookDads.com
"From cover to cover, an enjoyable read. No blatant advice...[just] simple stories from the life of a new dad coming into his own....You come away with a sense- 'Hey I can do this!'"
--Keith Marble, BreakAwayDad.com
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Maybe it is the structure of the book itself which lends itself to this. The book is written in a very unique style that doesn't quite look like prose, but also doesn't really match poetry. Lanfer, a playwright as well, lets us know in the first chapter, which incidentally isn't the right term either, that this style was influenced from reading many plays and writing personalized no-thank you cards. The "chapters," in The Faith of a Child, indeed read more like scenes or vignettes from a play than the typical memoir.
While this book was written and intended for dads-to-be, the potential audience who would enjoy this read is much larger. I can see grandparents, moms, and "veteran" dads also enjoying this book. For me, a dad for a mere 13 months, I found myself finally finding the words to describe my emotions about being a father. That is a powerful experience, I can assure you. I found myself getting tears in my eyes throughout my reading of this book. Not tears of sadness either, but happy tears at finding so many similar memories and experiences as I read.
Lanfer explains in the preface that his wife was surrounded by a support group of women to guide her through the path of motherhood, but for him it consisted of primarily jokes about the sleep and golf that he would never see again.
In his own life Lanfer made a big pot of chili and invited men in his life to come over and fill him with their stories. It is one thing to know the mechanics of what will happen in the maternity ward, it's another to hear the stories of men who have been there.
And seeing that void, he wrote this book.
The chapters are short and easy to read. Written in a style somewhere between poetry and prose. Some stories are sad, some encouraging and some funny. Even as veteran stay at home dad for 10 years I enjoyed reading Lanfer's stories of becoming a father and of fatherhood. Some places our stories differ, but a lot of times it reminded me of some of those early years. So even if you have been a father for years you will enjoy reading someone else's journey.
The real target audience is the expectant father. The one who has yet to journey down the path.
So my suggestion is when you have a friend that is on the path to fatherhood and the women are putting together a shower to celebrate the mother, make a big pot of chili and invite other friends who are on their various fatherhood paths to come and fill the expectant dad with their stories. Then give them this book to continue hearing stories as they continue their journey.
Stefan writes with such a raw honesty about the insecurities, the self-doubt, and the sometimes overwhelming feelings of love and awe that come with being a father. His acknowledgement of such feelings provides affirmation to fathers that its okay to not always have the answers, to feel second fiddle to your wife as a parent, or to just be exhausted at times with the experience.
After reading the book, I said to myself, "If I'm half as good a father as Stefan is, I'll be doing okay."
We've bought a few of copies for the other new and expectant fathers in our lives and commend this book to parents everywhere.
This is a great read that I plan to share with friends and family.