The Father You Get

And the Ones You Make, Believe In, and Become

The Father You Get

And the Ones You Make, Believe In, and Become

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Available May 27, 2025

In a world of imperfect-at-best and bad-at-worst dads, what is the ideal of fatherhood we aspire to? Why does this ideal exist?

What is it about fathers and father figures that looms so large in the lives of so many? So wonders Patton Dodd in this work of reflection and memoir, in which he wrestles with a dad-sized hole, the gap between the idealized father he yearned to have and the father he got--an often-absent alcoholic who struggled to hold down a job and whose unreliability caused chaos for his family.

This struggle with the father he was given led Dodd to other father figures throughout his life: fathers he created, from an imaginary "Papa Friend" he dreamed up in his childhood, to the male mentors he sought as he grew older. There's also the father he believed in, the Christian God, often conceptualized as the heavenly Father, and who led Dodd to the steadfast, faithful love of his earthly mother. And finally, there is the father Dodd became when he had his own children, an experience that led him back to the source and the mystery of his own dad. Throughout, Dodd's story resonates for those with their own dad-sized gaps, their own father wounds: those who struggle with the fathers they got, the fathers they wish they had, the fathers they hope to be.

A lyrical, emotional meditation on the failures and glories of dadhood and manhood alike, The Father You Get is ultimately an extended wrestling with the mysteries of a distant parental figure. Dodd ultimately asks if there is any way to bridge the gap between the fathers we get and the fathers our hearts yearn for.

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506486987
  • eBook ISBN 9781506486994
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date May 27, 2025
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