Father's Day by Simon Van Booy
review copy; 304 pages
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
TLC TOUR SCHEDULE