Raising the Dad by Tom Matthews
St. Martin's Press: 4/17/18
eBook review copy; 320 pages
Raising the Dad by Tom Matthews is a recommended drama featuring a dysfunctional family in an unimaginable situation.
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.
My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.