Father of the Rain by Lily King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Father of the Rain takes three snapshot pictures of Daley's relationship with her alcoholic father. In the first, Daley is eleven years old and while she adores her father, she's beginning to see that something is very wrong with their relationship. King deftly stays within the parameters of Daley's youthful, and sadly hopeful perspective as Daley's mother leaves her father and her father quickly jumps into a painfully dysfunctional relationship with wife number two. Watching how Daley's weekend visits with her father's new family is really painful but realistic.
We are brought forward to Daley's graduation from Grad school and plans to move in with the man she loves and to start her dream job as a college professor. Still hopeful , albeit guarded due to the damage caused by her father in her youth, she finds herself sucked back into her father's world as he faces his own crisis of wife number two leaving him.
The last portion of the book is present day. Daley is called again to her father as he lay dying.
This book touched me in a very personal way. While my father was not an addict at all, we did have a fair amount of dysfunction in our family. My mother died when I was nine leaving my father to raise my older brother and me. Looking back, I do know he did the best he could. But there are a host of issues that still linger in my "grow up" psyche related to being left really to fend for myself at a very young age for long spaces of time. And while my damage is nothing like Daley's, I felt a true kinship to her. King's ability to tell the story from Daley's perspective keeping in her realm of understanding brought me back to my own eleven year old self...alone, confused and desperately trying to connect with a father incapable of connecting. But perhaps the best thing about reading this book for me was that while it brought back some difficult memories, it also left me remembering that I am the woman is today BECAUSE of what I went through, just as Daley is.
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