From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
Fathers bringing their children to Story Time were a rare sight when I first began working at the library. That has changed and it makes me very happy. Even better is when dads check out books for themselves, showing their young kids that reading isn’t only for mothers. In fact, a father came upstairs with his sons to do just that as I was writing this.
Father-child relationships may not feature in novels as often as mothers do, and often in a less than flattering light when they do. “The Godfather” is an example of this, although you can argue that deep down, Don Corleone was a family man. It seems like many books start out with the father abandoning his wife and children, becoming nothing more than a phantom figure as his family struggles to move on.
However, there are just as many books with good and caring dads. Think of Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol,” Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter series, the unnamed father in “The Road” by the late Cormac McCarthy, and Nathan Drum in William Kent Kruger’s “Ordinary Grace.”
Of course, men do not have to be related by blood to be fathers to their children. Prime examples are Matthew Cuthbert in “Anne of Green Gables” and Mr. Brownlow in “Oliver Twist.” Going back to the Harry Potter books, Sirius Black is definitely a father figure to Harry. And in Stephen Rowley’s “The Guncle,” Patrick rearranges his life to care for his niece and nephew.
But hands down, the winner of Best Literary Father of the Year is none other than Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Could there be a more shining example of fatherhood? Even though I was privileged to have a good dad, I can’t help but admire Atticus’ character and parenting skills. You just know that Jem and Scout turned out to be exemplary citizens who did everything to make him proud.
If you are fortunate to be able to celebrate this Father’s Day with your dad or special father figure, enjoy. If not, spend the day with your favorite literary dad.