Saturday 5 May 2007

Wisdom of our Fathers by Tim Russert

My blog traffic plummets when I write book reviews. Nobody (not even Janell) leaves any comments on my literary posts. Are the reviews badly written? Nobody cares what I read or have to say about it when I'm finished, is that it? I have to admit those posts are the ones that I labour hardest over. I don't feel scholarly enough to write them and when I look back on them, I don't feel they are written very well. But I read a lot. And the books usually leave me with something to say. Ah, a dilemma.....

I just finished Wisdom of our Fathers. The author, Tim Russert, is a well respected journalist and host of Meet the Press, a news show I wish we got in the UK for its objective and in depth analysis of the American political machine. The book was written as a response to his first book, Big Russ & Me, which was about his father. After the publication of that book, thousands of readers wrote in stories about their fathers and Wisdom of our Fathers is the collection of what he felt were the best of these letters.

I haven't read the first book but I don't think it matters one bit. I really enjoyed reading this book. The stories are sad and uplifting and disappointing and honest. Most of all, it highlighted (as if I needed it) how hard it is to be a parent. And that the measure of your success is not felt until long after you've gone. That little mistakes can have a big impact and the little words make big impacts. It also meant that I looked at my father in a whole different dimension.

In case you can't tell, I think rather highly of my father. What I learned is that I need to tell him, write it down and make sure he understands all those things he did contributed to who I am today. Bring a tissue when you sit down to read and be prepared to laugh. The chapter I like best is the one that talks about baseball and how many children's relationships with their father was defined either on the field, in the stands, or sitting at home watching a game on television or listening on the radio. Of course, my dad isn't much of a baseball fan. We do our talking driving around.

I recommend reading this if only to be reminded of where we came from and what our parent's have meant to us.


Janell said...

I enjoy reading your book reviews, even if I don't comment on them. In my opinion, you should keep writing them since reading is such a big part of your life and that's what blogging is all about isn't it? Sharing your life. I'll try to be more faithful about commenting on the reviews.

Janell said...

One more thing - this Russert book sounds wonderful. I'll look for it as soon as I'm done with Teacher Man (Frank McCourt)