Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Book Review: Fatherless by James Dobson and Kurt Bruner
I heard about this book on talk radio. I grew up listening to talk radio with my parents so it has some nostalgic value for me, but I look forward to the little snippets of news and commentary that I catch through out the day in between getting up, making breakfast, school breaks and cooking dinner or driving in the car. So when I heard about Fatherless, I was intrigued. There was a huge waiting list at the library so I indulged myself and bought it for my kindle. It was worth the purchase. At first I was nervous that I had spent money on some dribble that didn't really have any substance. I was wrong. There's a strong message in this book: The family is of God. Life is a gift. Messing with the family or the sanctity of life brings unbelievable suffering, social ills, and national crises of every kind. It also reaffirms the value of the work that women do in the home, honoring them for the choice to sacrifice their bodies, time and talents to raising the next generation. It also clearly states that children are a treasure from heaven to be received with joy, not a burden to be avoided. On the downside, I have to say that the "traditional couple" who star in the book are a bit idealized. The handsome, uber-succuessful congressman is married to the former cheerleader who retains both beauty and sex appeal after 15years of marriage and three children. They are busy in the bedroom at every opportunity, share exactly the same strong belief system, and adore every aspect of life together without so much as a hint of complaint. The wife even shows up in the kitchen at midnight to greet her husband who came in late, wearing silk undies after a long day of caring for three small children. Um...not exactly real life. At least not my real life. The story is told from various viewpoints, one of them being that of a left-wing liberal journalist who does everything in her power to persuade the public that "breeders" (those who dare beget more than 2 children) are a menace to society. In fact, her career seems to hang on this task. At times the book drags on a bit. The story stalls at a few points. But overall it was an enjoyable read, if not always an entirely believable one. Also, I didn't feel like the author did that great a job of connecting all the dots. The afore mentioned journalist grew up in a fatherless home, as did most of the characters in this book. But the marginalization of men and their role in raising children is only briefly discussed. I found this odd, since the title of this book is Fatherless. It seems that the author could have done a lot more to maximize the title and make a stronger case for fatherhood in general. This appears to be the first in a series of books. I believe the next one will be Childless, due this Fall. I am pretty sure I'll end up reading it. I do recommend picking up this book. It gives you a bit of an insider look at Washington DC politics and the incredible power they have to influence YOUR family life via legislation. If you read it, I'd be interested in hearing your reaction.