Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Raising the Dad

Raising the Dad by Tom Matthews
St. Martin's Press: 4/17/18
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781250094766

Raising the Dad by Tom Matthews is a recommended drama featuring a dysfunctional family in an unimaginable situation.

John Husted's family is struggling. The doctor for his mother, Rose, has diagnosed her with Alzheimer's. His older brother, Mike, a ne'er-do-well drug abusing rocker, has just been released from prison. His marriage of seventeen years to Robin has become a stale, routine. His daughter Katie is hanging out with a moody, fatalistic group at her high school. To add to the stress, John, a grant proposal writer for a nonprofit group, is falling behind on his job.

When an old friend of his father wants to meet with John at a familiar restaurant across the street from the hospital that he and John's father helped found, he agrees. John's father Dr. Lawrence Husted, had a debilitating stroke thirty years ago and died. Since then, his family has been struggling. What the old doctor shares with John is unbelievable, overwhelming, and places John in an inconceivable situation. What his family believed about his father's death isn't exactly the truth. Now John's stress levels are increasing and he must decide what to tell his family about the new revelations.

The writing is good and Matthews does address the history of the family and the struggles they have encountered over the years since their father's stroke. The characters are developed, and background information is disclosed. Their relationship with the family patriarch is portrayed realistically, helping to set up the conflicts and exposed buried emotions. The characters make the novel worthwhile. There is growth and development. There is change.

The actual situation that the family finds themselves in, however, is truly unbelievable and, well, preposterous. In a farce, I could go with it, but this isn't written as a satire so it was a struggle for me to accept the situation. There is a story here and the interaction between the characters is worth the read, but you will have to overlook the impossible in the novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

No comments: