Daddy's Girl

Fiction - Urban
388 Pages
Reviewed on 07/22/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award-winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", “Love and Happiness”, and the new novel “ Daddy’s Girl." He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His novels "Monster" and “Wounded” are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Daddy’s Girl is a novel written by Ben Burgess Jr. A 2:00 am telephone call is all it takes to fully wake Nick Johnson. The mother of his child, Vickie De Luca, has gone into labor one month early and threatens to sign the baby over to the state if he is not there to prevent it. Panicked and hung over, Nick rushes to the hospital as fast as he can and is able to witness the birth of his daughter, Lynn, after receiving disgusted looks from the nurse at the disheveled Black man standing before her. Nick had met Vickie while doing renovations for her mobster husband, Frank, and after catching Vickie mid-dress, one thing had led to another, resulting in a highly guarded secret pregnancy. Choosing to continue her lavish lifestyle with Frank, Vickie makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with the baby, before handing her to Nick and disappearing. As Nick continues to go clubbing and brings strange women home for sex, he soon realizes that he needs to choose between his daughter and his drunken ways – a choice which becomes easy after a close call with death. Lynn has many difficult questions for her father over the years – questions about her mother, her skin color, and why her father never seems to have her back when she is in trouble. As Lynn physically grows, Nick grows up emotionally as he realizes that fatherhood is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs a man can ever have.

This story really hit home for me and gave me a whole new appreciation for my own father – a Black man who had no choice but to raise me on his own. Ben Burgess Jr. has captured every possible aspect of fatherhood while tackling bad habits and tough choices. Initially, the main character, Nick, relies on everybody else for help with his daughter and soon takes them all for granted, but when they all desert him, he is forced to wake up and fully face the situation he is in. The writing style of Daddy's Girl is so fluent and easy to absorb, painting the perfect picture in my head of the events in play. The sequence of events was brilliantly delivered, starting with the panic of a premature birth, then how he had actually met the mother of his child – a woman who is married to a mobster and wanted to get back at her husband after he had cheated on her – before continuing to Lynn’s childhood and Nick’s realization that he is solely responsible for his daughter’s well-being and safety. Every one of the characters was complex, yet believable. I fully enjoyed reading Daddy’s Girl and recommend it to mature readers who enjoy inspirational tales with a full spectrum of drama, humor, heartbreak, tragedy and self-sacrifice.

Ray Simmons

Daddy’s Girl by Ben Burgess Junior is a good, fast read. I started it one Sunday afternoon and I couldn't stop until I had finished it. It didn't take all that long. The words seemed to flow from page to page and from chapter to chapter until I was at the end of the book. Most of them are very short chapters but all of them are very good. I remember reading The World According to Garp when I was younger. There was a discussion in that novel about why people read books and the conclusion was that people just want to find out what happens. That’s exactly why I couldn't stop reading Daddy’s Girl. I wanted to know what happens next. I wanted to know how things turned out for Nick, the somewhat optimistic dad who could use a little more common sense. I wanted to know what happens to his married Italian-American girlfriend, and finally I wanted to know what would happen to their daughter.

I have met a lot of these characters in real life. I lived in New York for a while with the family of an Italian-American friend. New York and its people are a special breed. There is just something about the people and the city that makes them stand apart. Ben Burgess Junior captures a part of that unique essence in this story of love and fatherhood changing a man’s life. Daddy’s Girl is a look at New York. It is a look at America. But mostly it’s a look at the power of love. A great look at modern urban life.

Ruffina Oserio

Daddy's Girl by Ben Burgess Jr is a heartwarming, beautifully crafted story that centers on fatherhood and what raising a daughter can do to a man, a story that daughters and fathers will love. Nick Johnson is a carpenter and an alcoholic, a man whose life doesn’t seem to have any sense of direction, a floater. One can say he lives for nothing, drowning himself in beer and wasting away in parties. But something happens that wakes him up. He has an affair with an unhappily married woman, Vicky, who gets pregnant by him. The birth of Lynn is the beginning of a new life for Nick, because he has to become responsible - no longer for his actions, but much more for the throbbing life within his daughter and he has to do it alone. What is it like to be a single father?

Single fathers are rarer than single mothers and it is interesting to read a story about a man’s struggle to raise a daughter all alone, a father’s love and connection with his daughter. Daddy’s Girl is a powerful testament to the incredible joy of fatherhood, but it is even more than that. It is a powerful song about life, love, and growing up, a story laced with many life lessons on love, perseverance, and the strength of purpose. Ben Burgess Jr is a good storyteller who knows how to absorb readers into his world view and send them back into life thinking about his characters. I loved everything about this book. From the moment Nick is woken up from stupor by Vicky’s words through a phone conversation, “I’m about to have this baby…” up to the brilliant finish, I was drawn in completely, fully captivated. I highly recommend this book as a fun and enlightening read. I couldn't put it down.