The Fatherless Daughter Project

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Denna Babul & Karin Luise


June 7, 2016

304 Pages

Both authors of this book are fatherless. According to the introduction, Babul lost her father through divorce and then early death, and Luise lost her father through divorce and family dysfunction. Their stories aren’t exactly front and center in this book, but they do come up a lot. (It’s clear that the authors wrote this as much for themselves as for others.) Their goal with this book is pretty straightforward:  they want to help other fatherless daughters understand how their father’s absence has affected them and how they can move on from the pain of loss.

The book is divided into eight chapters. The first half of the book mostly talks about the different circumstances that might lead to a woman being abandoned by her father. The second half (the real meat of the book, in my opinion) gets into the nitty gritty of how losing a father affects future relationships, as well as how fatherless daughters can learn to cope with whatever pain they are holding on to, process it, then move toward living joyful and content lives.

I don’t think I was prepared, at first, for the uber casual and friendly tone of the book, but I warmed up to it quickly. Both Babul and Luise come off as very kind and authentic, forthright and honest, but also extremely gentle and encouraging. Reading the book is like talking to a really nice, insightful therapist.

I will say, though, that the first half of the book is a little slow. Babul and Louise spend A LOT of time talking about ALL the possible types of “fatherless” family situations:  Here’s how you might feel if your dad died, here’s how you might feel if your dad was emotionally absent, here’s how you might feel if your dad committed suicide, abused you, went to jail, had an addiction, etc. I get that there are a lot of ways a woman can be abandoned by her father, but I don’t think Babul and Louise needed to talk about each one specifically. I enjoyed reading the sections that applied to me and my situation…but much of those sections didn’t apply to me, so the book’s momentum kept stuttering.

What I really wish is that Babul and Louise had edited down the first half of the book and just let the second half shine. Because Chapters 5 through 8 are dynamite. I had so many a-ha moments. The chapter on how fatherlessness affects romantic relationships blew my mind. I cried and analyzed and understood and then felt better about myself and my life. The last chapter on moving forward was also helpful and incredibly empowering.

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading this book. It’s not really one you can zip through. There is a lot of info in here, a lot to take in and process, but the payoff definitely makes the effort worthwhile.

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