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With Father’s Day this Sunday, I wanted to talk a bit about dads in books . . . specifically my favorite dads, the impact they had on their children, and why I love them!
There are some spoilers included in this post, so if you come across a book you have not read but intend too, please skip that section.
Mathew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables
As a young girl, one of my favorite series was Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. While not Anne’s birth father, Mathew Cuthbert was the only real father that Anne Shirley knew in her young life. Even though he was on a mission to adopt a boy to help out with chores on the farm, when Anne instead made an appearance, Mathew decided to go to bat for her with his sister and fought to keep her. Their relationship as a father and daughter blossomed.
While Mathew and Anne did not have a traditional father / daughter relationship, he was the first man in Anne’s life that showed her that she mattered. He supported her intelligence and creativity in a time where that was not a valued characteristic in women. One of my favorite scenes between them is when Mathew presents Anne with her first fancy dress for a school dance . . . with puffed sleeves. While Mathew was incredibly shy and backward, he made the extreme effort to go to town and purchase the dress for Anne so that she could feel loved and beautiful and not like an outcast or orphan as many often made her feel.
Mathew was one of Anne’s “kindred spirits” and changed Anne’s life for the better from the moment he first laid eyes on her.
“I never wanted a boy. I only wanted you from the first day. Don’t ever change. I love my little girl. I’m so proud of my little girl” ~Mathew Cuthbert
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird
With high school English came To Kill a Mockingbird and probably one of the most unique fathers in literature, Atticus Finch. A lawyer willing to stand up for those society would rather forget, Atticus Finch treats his young children like adults. They call him by his first name, and he does not shy away from discussing controversial or hard to talk about topics with his children such as racism and bigotry.
Atticus also realizes Jem and Scout will make childish mistakes and assumptions and uses patience and understanding to help them learn the differences between right and wrong and never misses an opportunity to pass along his values regarding social justice to his children encouraging them to think for themselves.
I have great respect for the way Atticus stood for his beliefs as well as encouraged his children to do so as well from a young age, while also considering the world around them before making judgements about others.
“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~ Atticus Finch
The Dads in Scott Hildreth’s books, including Gene Parks in the Baby Girl series, Shane Dekkar in the Un-series, Biscuit in Hung, Bradley Carson in Rough and Smokey in Rigid.
When I thought about dads in my current reading selections, I immediately thought of the men in Scott Hildreth’s books. Each man I plan on highlighting today looks at a different aspect of fatherhood.
While these may seem like odd choices when talking about Fathers in Literature, all of these men exuded characteristics that to me, make them amazing fathers.
Gene Parks – The Baby Girl Series.
Gene is a single dad, and has been since his daughter, Kelli, was a year old. A war hero, Gene built a successful BMW dealership, not for himself, but so that his child would have a secure future. He has spent his entire life protecting and caring for Kelli . . . going as far as to hide the fact that her mother overdosed because he knew it would cause her pain. When Kelli begins dating Erik Ead, Gene takes the time to get to know him and welcomes him in to the family, coming to treat him as his own son and eventually selling his BMW dealership and purchasing a Harley dealership for Kelli and Erik.
Some of my favorite scenes are actually between Gene and Erik. The scene where they first meet has Gene establishing how he feels Kelli should be treated as well as welcoming Erik to the family and then again, later when Gene tells Erik he will die without a kidney transplant and asks that he take care of his little girl in his place. Gene was truly a selfless man and an excellent father.
“I want my daughter to feel like she’s exactly what she is, and that’s special. All the time.” ~Gene Parks
Shane Dekkar – the Un-series
Shane Dekkar is a boxes looking to become the best in the world. When he meets and then saves Kace Meadows from an abusive relationship, he knows he has found the love of his life. When Shane finds out Kace is pregnant, he is thrilled . . . until he finds out the child will be born with special needs. Unable to accept this new reality, Shane takes off on his motorcycle, leaving Kace to handle the pregnancy on her own.
At this point, I am sure you are wondering why I would include this type of dad in a post about amazing fathers in literature when he left his pregnant wife when the going got tough. And, I admit, I was worried that Shane would never be able to accept a child with special needs. However, after much soul searching, he realizes he left, not because he can’t accept a child with Down’s Syndrome, but because he is terrified about being the type of father his child would need, because his own father had been abusive.
Once the baby is born, Shane realizes he is perfect just the way he is. As his love for little Casey grows, Shane uses his championship winnings to start giving back to the community, which includes building a school for special needs children so that not only his son, but all children like him have a safe place to learn and grow. To me, Shane first becomes an amazing job by facing his fears and then by providing for his child’s present with as much love as humanly possible and by planning for a future that allows his child to excel and reach his potential in a nurturing environment. Fatherhood is not always easy, and mistakes can be made . . . it takes a great father to admit he made the mistake and fix it to the best of his ability!
“Every day, he seemed to change a little more. Become a little more able and a little more mature. but, no matter what, he’s our son and he’s incredible.”
“Casey is simple magical. He knows he’s special in our eyes, we’re special in his.” ~Shane Dekkar
Dalton Biskette, aka Biscuit, in Hung
Biscuit, member of the Selected Sinners MC, and all around outlaw never thought he would be a father, as he was unable to have children. He enjoys women, never really looking for more than a good time. Things change, however, when he meets Kat. Kat and Biscuit’s hook-up soon becomes serious, however they break up when Kat discovers she is pregnant by her abusive ex-boyfriend. She feels she needs to give her unborn child a father and vows to work out their differences.
Just a short time later, Kat calls Biscuit after she has been severely beaten. After seeing the shape she is in, Biscuit claims Kat as his old lady. Not only does he claim Kat, however, he claims her unborn child as well . . . promising to be the best father he can be. While it wasn’t the life he thought he would ever have, Dalton knows it is the life he wants more than anything. By choosing to adopt and accept the baby as his own, Biscuit became one of my favorite Dads.
“In my current state of being, I was incapable of producing children, and as far as I was concerned, the baby wasn’t another man’s child. The child was mine.”
“To me, it was nothing short of what it truly was. An opportunity to right a lifetime of wrongs. A gift. And a blessing.”~Dalton Biskette
Bradley Carson in Rough
Bradley Carson is a dad that doesn’t take any crap, loves telling it how it is and enjoys teaching life lessons to anyone that will listen, especially his son. While he may seem cantankerous, he was as loyal and loving as a parent could be, and extraordinarily proud of his son. While his advice spanned many topics, my favorite was his relationship advice. Having been happily married for 50 years, he had quite a bit of solid advice to pass around. Who knew that a game of scrabble could be so very important! So important, in fact, that he left that same box of Scrabble to his son’s girlfriend Tegan in his will.
I adore Bradley Carson for being a normal, loving and supportive father and husband. He lived his life to the fullest and filled with those he loved.
“Might sound strange, but the foundation of your mother’s and my relationship is that Scrabble box. . . . every Friday, without fail, we knew we could count on that game together . . . ” ~Bradley Carson
Grayson Wallace, aka Smokey, in Rigid
Grayson Wallace has raised his daughter, Eddie, as a single parent from the day she came home from the hospital. Eddie is an intelligent, beautiful, string and sassy young lady . . . all due to the love and care her father has given her. She is confident in who she is and what she can accomplish and knows she will always have her dad’s unwavering support.
Smokey’s life was devoted to his daughter and his motorcycle club. While he may have a one night stand with a woman, he certainly has no desire for a relationship. However, when his one night stand tells him he is going to be a father once again, his attitude quickly changes. From the moment Sandy lets Smokey know she is pregnant he immediately forms a plan to support her during her pregnancy as well as co-parent once the baby is born. As they spend more time together, however, Smokey and Sandy decide to do more than co-parent, and with Eddie in agreement become their own family with a baby on the way.
To me, Smokey made an amazing father because he was wiling to put his own life on hold for years to make sure that his daughter had everything she could possibly need growing up, including his love and attention. He raised a self assured young woman who was ready to take on anything that life threw at her knowing she had the support of her dad. When he found out Sandy was pregnant, he also immediately stepped up and agreed to be there for the child in every way, even though they were not a couple at that time . . . going so far as to bring her his own copy of What to Expect When You are Expecting, since it was Sandy’s first pregnancy.
“We act out of love naturally, but I think it’s the interaction that we become attached to. The conversations we have, and seeing their growth. Bottles of baby food. Crawling to walking. Talking. Learning how to read. Middle school to highs school. Oh, and diapers to potty training.” ~ Grayson Wallace
I hope you have enjoyed my take on Fathers in Literature. I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment, and, if you have your own related post, please post the link in the comments! I’d love to see who your favorite book dads are!
Make sure to visit these blogs to see their favorite dads!