"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

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Summary: Upon learning of his cancer diagnosis, Bruce Feiler creates a council of dads to mentor his soon-to-be-orphaned daughters.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher.

"Take a walk for me."  

I cried at page 32. But the good kind of tears, where you remember the awe-inspiring moments of delivering your child and knowing you have a loving partner who has your back, for life. Though I’ve never met Bruce Feiler and his wife Linda, I wish that I could be a part of their lives.  

Bruce Feiler, the man who wrote “Walking the Bible,” is suddenly told he has a seven-inch tumor in his left femur.  

He will die.  

He panics about leaving his twin girls fatherless and so, with his wife, decides to create a “Council of Dads” to mentor his daughters and also serve as a testament (and memorial) to his life after he dies. As readers, we meet each member of the Council of Dads and Bruce reviews their shared history and also asks what each member can provide to his girls. Male friendship is so different from female friendship (and we recognize that Bruce is so lucky to have these men in his life) and their shared memories offer much-welcomed comic relief to a sad, but also uplifting true story. The true tragedy is that a man who made his living walking is now unable to do so.  

Interspersed with the intros are composites of actual e-mails that Bruce sent out, chronicling his diagnosis, treatment and progress. The e-mails are the best parts of the book - so full of raw honesty, joy in his silly daughters, aching with love for his wife, and always ending with, "Take a walk for me."  

I predict that this book will become a popular book club selection over the next three years, as both women and men analyze their past and current friendships and ask themselves, "What will my friend say my life meant?"  

Read this book. You don't want to miss it.

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