Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $2.43 (16%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
When I First Held You: 22... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Nice copy may have remainder mark on book edge. Eligible for *FREE* Super Saver Shipping
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood Paperback – May 6, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.57
$0.48 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$12.57 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood
  • +
  • The Birth Of A Mother: How The Motherhood Experience Changes You Forever
Total price: $30.03
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] fabulous new anthology of fatherhood essays...A true must-read for pros and expectant parents alike. It's cutting and honest and hilarious and sad, with 22 essays from some of our best writers, such as Dennis Lehane, Justin Cronin, Lev Grossman, and many, many more...The essays are incredibly refreshing because they show fatherhood in such a vulnerable light—the good, the bad, the frustrating, and incredibly wonderful."—Parade magazine

"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

Brian Gresko is a stay-at-home dad and writer based in Brooklyn. His essays and journalism have appeared on the Huffington Post, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, the Daily Beast, the Paris Review Daily, the Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among numerous other publications. He has also contributed to Glimmer Train and Slice magazine. He keeps a daily column about dads for Babble and is currently at work on a novel.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425269248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425269244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's interesting -- family routines have changed so much in the last few decades, but dads' voices continue to remain notably absent from the pantheon of contemporary parenting narratives. As the mom of a young child, I've often turned to nonfiction memoirs for reassurance, advice, and amusement. There's Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother, Peggy Orenstein's Waiting for Daisy, Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, and on and on. But rarely have I had the chance to dive into anything about the experience of fatherhood (Elisha Cooper's book Crawling is the only exception I can think of at the moment.)

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.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I First Held You is a refreshing, honest look at modern fatherhood as seen through the eyes of some of the best young(ish) male writers of the era. This collection of essays is not, as inferred by title, a hodgepodge collection of Gen X and Gen Y narcissism about the never ending parade of dirty diapers and hours of lost sleep and soul-draining demands from the wet-set and how all is forgiven by the chance re-discovery of the birthing video. While there is a touch of that type of narrative, as there must be, When I First Held You is an open and honest conversation about the challenges and experiences of modern fatherhood told from the perspective of fathers who were first sons. This honesty is at its peak when contributor Bruce Machart openly admits, on behalf of so many of us, that we just don't like to play. Especially with kids. Even our own. Yet we try to find the strength and energy and motivation to play with our kids, even if it seems as though it will surely be our undoing. Life and death accidents, chronic illnesses, internal struggle and external conflicts; the palette of fatherhood is found in these essays, which in turn is shared openly and mostly selflessly. This book is a great read for any member of the family.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A bit disappointed. Poignant stories, seems to be dominated by today's reality for many --- parents who divorce or never marry and hard-hitting language. Great stories, but I had planned to share with my sons, new dads, and thought it (thus far) incredibly depressing about the hope of parenting together in the same home. I didn't want to scare them off! For a guy with a few years behind him (I'm 64) it is quite good, and I might get a 4* from that perspective.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The authors in this anthology write eloquently and openly about being dads. As a parent (a mom!), reading these gems made me laugh, groan, and wince, but most of all made me feel connected; they give a nuanced voice to an experience shared by so many people, but rarely talked about in such an honest way. This book is perfect for dads and moms, new and well-experienced.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
When I First Held you is the rare outlet featuring the voices of fathers on the rich and varied experience of having a child. And it does so with great depth and nuance. The cultural cliché’s of dopy dads, parroted ad nauseam in sitcoms and film, are shown to be far from modern fatherhood, where a range of emotions and practices are at play.

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!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a terrific read for fathers, sons, and anyone interested in looking back at or looking ahead to having children. The diverse mix of super-established authors builds a multi-faceted view of parenthood, its challenges and joys, and the essays are by turns surprising, tense, and thought-provoking, but they always remain engrossing. Particular highlights for me include the intro, Justin Cronin’s struggle after a terrifying near-miss car accident, Benjamin Percy’s bracing essay about his own mortality, and Rick Moody’s moving look at his failings as a father. But other readers no doubt will have their own favorites, because this is one of those unique anthologies that’s equally weighted in quality across all its terrific parts.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood