Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: Father's Day

Father’s Day
by Simon Van Booy

Why I chose this book? The synopsis interested me and I like the cover
When I read this book? May 2016
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy stories that explore the meaning of family
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of Father’s Day from Goodreads

The moving story of an orphaned girl named Harvey and the troubled uncle who raises her—an unforgettable tale of loss and redemption from the author of The Illusion of Separateness

At the age of six, a little girl named Harvey learns that her parents have died in a car accident. As she struggles to understand, a kindly social worker named Wanda introduces her to her only living relative: her uncle Jason, a disabled felon with a violent past and a criminal record. Despite his limitations—and his resistance—Wanda follows a hunch and cajoles Jason into becoming her legal guardian, convinced that each may be the other’s last chance.

Moving between past and present, Father’s Day weaves together the story of Harvey’s childhood and her life as a young woman in Paris, as she awaits her uncle’s arrival for a Father’s Day visit. To mark the occasion, Harvey has planned a series of gifts for Jason—all leading to a revelation she believes will only deepen their bond.

With extraordinary empathy and emotional impact, the award-winning writer Simon Van Booy has crafted a simple yet luminous novel of loss and transcendence, second chances and forgiveness: a breakthrough work from one of our most gifted chroniclers of the human heart.

My Review

I really enjoyed this story. The book was a quick, easy read and I knew from the beginning that there was a ‘big reveal’ coming. This made me want to both rush through to find out the ending, and still want to go slowly because I wasn’t ready for it to end!

I liked the characters in the story; Wanda — the social worker who pulled some strings to get the placement she thought best served the child, Jason — the uncle turned father who had a rough start but became the father his niece needed, and Harvey — the young girl who tragically lost her parents and grew into a compassionate, successful adult!

In this story Harvey, the adopted daughter of her Uncle Jason, is living in Paris and hosting Jason for the week of Father’s Day. She has put together a gift box of memories which will culminate in the big reveal. Each day Jason removes and unwraps an object symbolic of the events of Harvey’s childhood. They spend quite a bit of time in their memories, and we get to see both Harvey’s perspective and Jason’s perspective. It’s interesting to see how they don’t always have the same perspective, and how Harvey’s perspective has evolved through the years.

While I really enjoyed this book, the only thing that did marr it for me a bit was the ending. I wasn’t surprised by the ending as I had expected it in a way but didn’t see how it could happen. But I was left a little confused about who knew what and when did they know it. And who knows what now? I would have liked to have seen another chapter or two clarifying this, as well as discussing the repercussions of the big reveal to both Harvey and Jason.

This will make a great book club selection with discussion topics of the meaning of family as well as Harvey’s discovery. I was not able to find a reader’s guide but you book club will have no trouble finding things to discuss.

About Simon Van Booy

Simon Van Booy is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories, including The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books and has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and the BBC. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

Find out more about Simon at his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

My Rating:   ✰✰✰½     3½ Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Simon’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, April 26th: BookNAround
Wednesday, April 27th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, April 27th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Thursday, April 28th: Bibliophiliac
Friday, April 29th: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, May 3rd: FictionZeal
Thursday, May 5th: she treads softly
Monday, May 9th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Tuesday, May 10th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, May 11th: Bibliotica
Thursday, May 12th: A Book Geek
Monday, May 16th: Novel Escapes
Tuesday, May 17th: The many thoughts of a reader
Wednesday, May 18th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, May 19th: Ms. Nose in a Book
TBD: Time 2 Read
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  1. I feel as though big reveal books can be a lot of fun, but are also tricky to get right! The big reveal has to be surprising, but not because it's unbelievable - in retrospect it must make sense. It also has to be big enough to justify the build up. This does sound like a great book club read :)

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