Thursday, May 5, 2016

Father's Day

Father's Day by Simon Van Booy
HarperCollins: 4/26/16
review copy; 304 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062408945

Father's Day by Simon Van Booy is a very highly recommended story about a father and daughter that follows two timelines.

The novel opens as Harvey, a little girl, is remembering scenes around her as a very young girl. Then we jump twenty years ahead into the future when Harvey at age 26 is living in Paris, and planning a special week of activities for her father, who is coming to visit her over Father's Day. Harvey has a box of gifts that symbolize some important moment in their lives together. The last gift she has will free her father from a secret he's been keeping for years.

Harvey's parents were been killed in a car accident when she was six and she ends up living with her father's estranged older brother, Jason. Jason is a disabled ex-con and a recovering alcoholic who has anger management issues. He reluctantly becomes Harvey's father - and rises to the occasion. These chapters follow the building relationship between Jason and Harvey and notes important events in their lives together as Harvey grows up.

The alternating present day chapters take place in Paris and follow the father and daughter as they enjoy each others company and Harvey plans special activities for them to enjoy. The affection Harvey feels for Jason is palatable; clearly he has been a great father for her. The alternating chapters telling their story as she grows up show what Jason has done and sacrificed to care for Harvey. She didn't fully comprehend some of the things he did until later, as an adult.

Father's Day is a wonderful, emotionally honest, poignant novel about a unique family. And yes, I did shed some tears as I was reading. Jason is trying very hard to be a good father, but, it becomes clear that he perhaps learned how to be a good father from being a good big brother. The bond between Jason and Harvey is as strong as any father/daughter relationship. The two build a relationship and a future.

The writing is incredible and perfectly captures the relationship between the two. I loved Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness and this adoration continues with Father's Day.
Again, it feels like each word, each sentence has been very carefully planned. The language and sentences are seemingly simple, but express a world of emotion. (I like the idea that this story is reminiscent of a fable.) This is another thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent novel that you need to savor, as the depth of the relationship between the two slowly unfolds and builds.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Jason sounds like an intriguing character. I'm very interested in learning about why Harvey's mother disliked him so much.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!