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When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood Paperback – May 6, 2014
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"These gifted writers charge full-force into the heart of fatherhood…[An] impressive collection."—Publishers Weekly
"This collection could be subtitled 'Profiles in Perseverance.' These fathers have fought the battles, and we lucky readers receive this collection of wry, moving stories."—Library Journal
"We lucky readers receive this collection of wry, moving stories."—Kirkus Reviews
"A collection of luminous essays by men on parenthood that are easily read and terrifically illuminating...Full of remembrances and half-remembrances of parenting in all its glory: failure, triumph, joy, tribulation, humorous bits and tragedies big and small...Readers will laugh, or perhaps wipe a tear; parents will nod knowingly."—Shelf Awareness
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
So I was delighted to find When I First Held You, with its rich portraits of fatherhood contributed by literary dads of every stripe. There's Bob Smith's warm, funny tale of being a queer, disabled father/"deadbeat donor" of two (he's "Bob" to them, not Dad), and a heartbreaking piece from Steve Edwards about the vast distance between prenatal fantasy and postnatal reality after his child's undiagnosed illness pushes him and his wife to the brink.
There are dads that hate to play, dads that wish their daughters would just stop talking so much, dads who have to construct fatherhood on their own terms in the wake of their own fathers' failures. There is guilt, there is worry (about safety, money, drinking too much, controlling rage), there is mourning for lost parents and grandparents and marriages and youth. But to me, this book is ultimately about joy and love, of course -- about the way that your heart opens up when your child is born and you realize, as Stephen O'Connor so aptly puts it, that you are no longer only yourself. A great read for fathers and mothers alike.
From Lev Grossman’s moving portrait of his very particular family and relationship with his father, to Ben Greenman’s touching recollection of struggling to precisely locate the new role of a father, to Alexi Zentner’s moving story of fear and coming to terms with anger.
Divorce, joy, hope, fear—these essays show not a monolithic experience, but a world where fatherhood is flexible and adaptable, but always loving. The introduction also offers a poignant explanation of why such a collection is vitally necessary. I highly, highly recommend this book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a 1st time father of a just recently turned 1 year old, this book has really helped me understand fatherhood in a way I never thought possiblePublished 6 months ago by jsd
As a relatively new father, these essays not only affirmed many of the experiences I've had, but also offered me a glimpse of the heartbreak, struggles, and joys to come. Read morePublished 18 months ago by A. Bell
Well written and edited, the stories are both heartwarming and incredibly interesting! Makes a great read.Published 23 months ago by Cindy Pitchon
Very thoughtful, entertaining, and moving essays from fathers. Every father should find a story they can relate too.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
It starts out really good. But the later essays are yawners.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm obviously not a father, but I adore this anthology for the perspective it gives from these amazing writer-dads, and the writing. Read morePublished on June 25, 2014 by Liza Monroy
I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about being a mother and parenting in general, its ups and downs, challenges and rewards, best practices, emotional... Read morePublished on June 9, 2014 by Rachael Keast
Enjoyable from start to finish. It is a nice change of pace to hear a fathers point of view. I would definitely recommend this book.Published on May 19, 2014 by PPriore