Read: as a review copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers (William Morrow, 256 pages)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (finished 6/10/10)
Synopsis: In 2008, bestselling author Feiler (Walking the Bible) learned he had a rare, life-threatening tumor in his left leg. Fearing what his absence would do to the lives of his young daughters, Feiler asked six close friends (“Men who know my voice”) to help raise them. Feiler chronicles his battle with cancer, from diagnosis to recovery, as well as his sentimental but moving journey to recruit friends who can carry out his wish to teach his daughters to travel, dream, and live life to its fullest.
Overall Impression: With the overwhelming number of fatherless children in this world (due to death, neglect, abandonment, prison…the list goes on), it’s so refreshing to read a book about a great dad. I, myself, have a great dad, and I am a daddy’s girl to the core. So this book resounded with me on a very deep level and I am so glad it was the one that was sent to me through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. The book was both about this Council of Dads that Feiler set up after he found out that his cancer may someday leave his two (incredibly bright and adorable) twin daughters without a father, as well as his own personal struggle with the disease. The book is heartbreaking in many places and uplifting in others. I absolutely can’t imagine how Feiler dealt with the debilitating cancer and still managed to learn so much about life through his friends, as well as pass that information along to his daughters and other people in his life. His life lessons could have easily veered into trite and Oprah-like, but instead they were different and insightful. Many of them I will keep as my own lessons. I also loved hearing about his wife. He doesn’t make her out to be a saint — she gets frustrated and sad and annoyed — but the bits we get about her story are lovely. To be a working mom who is raising two daughters while her husband battles for his life must have been enormously difficult.
If you read this, make sure you grab the Kleenex.
Pros: A captivating memoir that will leave you wanting to be a better person and to reconnect with the people in your life that mean the most to you. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the women who would be on my theoretical Council of Moms (as I have no children), and was overwhelmed when I thought about just how many beautiful women I have in my life who could fill that role.
Cons: Some of the prose in his letters to his friends and family were a little flowery and sentimental, but it’s not too bad. Seriously, the guy has cancer — he’s allowed to get sentimental.
Other books I’ve read by Bruce Feiler: none, but that will change!
Other blogger reviews: none. Please someone else read this! It’s so good.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from LibraryThing as part of their Early Reviewers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”