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Reviewed by Doreen Chombu for Readers' Favorite
After the death of her estranged father, Tara Fox Hall went to his house to search for her diary that he took when she was fifteen. Because her father was a hoarder, she finds lots of junk, rotten food, porn, mail from decades ago, and many more disgusting things, but her biggest surprise is a collection of diaries and unsent letters. To understand her father, she collects the documents and compiles them to write What My Father Never Told Me. This book is Tara Fox Hall’s therapeutic narration of her father's life. She talks about his alcohol and drug abuse, legal issues, sexual escapades, obsessive behavior, and misdeeds. Despite his dark moments, her father was a generous giver, a great friend, a lover of air balloons, and a good writer who expressed his feelings through poetry.
What My Father Never Told Me is an amazing book that took me on a roller coaster of emotions. I felt Tara Fox Hall’s pain and desperation to find any hint that her father loved and cared for her. It was disappointing to discover that her father had many chances to correct his wrongs and live a better life, but he did not take them. There were so many words unsaid and so much time wasted. He spent his life chasing things and people he could not have and neglected his family and the people who loved him. I loved the author's comments in the diary entries because I had the same thoughts about her father's behavior and choices. All her comments were authentic and made her relatable. I felt sad for her because she and her father love writing, and this could have been a great bonding point for them. I liked that she got closure and will use her father's life as a reminder not to lose sight of the important things and people in her life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves life-changing stories that make you reflect on your decisions.