Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

My Daughters,

My Illness,

and the Men Who Could Be Me

Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?"

Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads."

"I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?"

The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America.

This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.

A touching story about a father's fight to survive and plans for his children in case he didn't. Author Bruce Fieler received devastating news that he had a rare bone cancer in his femur. With two very young daughters to raise he planned to win the battle against his illness but prepared to provide them with father figures if he had to leave. This book chronicles how he tackles chemotherapy and surgery with the help of a great support team. He includes emails and letters he wrote to update family and friends about his condition. He also dedicates chapters to a small group of men who had special meaning to him in different times of his life. Each of these six individuals represent something different, each of great importance. It's because of their significance that he chooses them to be a part of his Council of Dads. These men know him well and share his values so he knows that they will be exceptional father figures to his children. If they lose their dad they will not lose his voice.

The book was so well written, the fear was offset by humor and hope. Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way so Feiler's story strikes a personal note. I was in tears on more than one page. The back stories for his father, grandfathers and other father figures were thoughtful and interesting. I liked knowing what made them special to him. As a parent myself I understood his determination to take care of his children whether he was with them or not. His words were inspirational and I'm sure his daughters will cherish this book forever.

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an advanced copy of this book to review.

Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: 4/27/10
Pages: 256
Price/format: $22.99/hardcover
Type: memoir


  1. This sounds like a powerful book, but I don't think it's the right time for me to read it.

  2. This sounds like a really inspirational read.


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