Monday, December 7, 2015

What My Father Gave Me Edited by Melanie Little

This collection of short stories is a powerful read on the theme of father-daughter relationships. Each of the seven stories features a different family dynamic used to demonstrate how said relationships evolve over the course of time and how complex they can be. From an abusive father to the perfect stepdad, each story is carefully told to show the reader how these relationships affect the daughter’s future relationships and for some their future lives. Although short (8 to 16 pages,) writers manage to convey their thoughts and feelings in a way that encourages the reader connect with the characters. Some of the stories are followed by an interview with the story’s author where she answers questions about her life and what inspired them her to write. My favorite story was by Jessica Raya. She writes about the string of stepfathers in and out of her mother’s life. In and out until the least likely one to stick around does. He sees her grow into a young woman and helps their family as a whole overcome their past challenges. This title would be a good resource for students and teachers seeking short narrative nonfiction as well as looking for alternative texts within the short stories unit.--Claudio Leon

Little, Melanie (Ed.) What My Father Gave Me. Buffalo: Annick Press, 2010. Print.

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