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Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite
Your Father Has Something to Tell You by Dave Riese is an unusual novel in that it reads much like a memoir, and yet Dave Riese assures us it is fiction. Despite his assurance that it is, in fact, a novel, lovers of great memoirs will thoroughly enjoy reading this story. Anyone whose family had secrets that cast a shadow over their childhood will relate strongly to this tale and to the message it carries. Mark Aherne was estranged from his parents, having suffered bullying and belittlement from his father in childhood. But his parents’ love and nurturing created a bond that could not be completely broken, and that bond compels Mark to respond with love and compassion when his sick and aging parents need help. From a call for help from his sister, the story traces Mark Aherne’s interactions with his aging folks and relates a variety of incidents from his childhood that are brought to mind by those interactions.
Dave Riese’s Your Father Has Something to Tell You is a story with a strong plot and well-developed characters. It captures family life experiences in an engaging way. Through his dealings with his parents, and through recalling episodes from his youth, Mark gradually comes to understand his family’s dysfunction and is able to forgive his parents’ foibles and come to terms with his own guilt. But he also has to face his own fears of aging, and cope both practically and emotionally with his mother’s dementia and his father’s stubborn but impractical independence. The story moves along at a leisurely pace and eventually reaches a surprising conclusion, and finally a touching end that may leave you teary, but will certainly compel you to think deeply about your own relationship with your parents, about the perils of aging, and about your own mortality. A thought-provoking story that reflects a great deal of insight into family relationships.