Yet again, this is another book that I was so kindly gifted by the author. And, yet again, this is another book I wanted to read and review before the New Year. That went well. Nevertheless, I am slowly catching up, and making my way through my massive to-read list.
Let me introduce this book to you, and then we can get into my review!
One out of three women in the U.S. identify as fatherless. An absent father who occasionally appears to bestow his affections only to disappear again leads a daughter to seek out others like him – men who are charismatic, but emotionally unavailable – throughout her lifetime.
In this emotionally-charged memoir written in cinematic vignettes, Jayne Martin fearlessly bares the parts of her that were broken when her father left the family upon her birth and, in doing so, leads readers on their own journey toward wholeness and healing. Whether you are a fatherless daughter or someone who loves one, The Daddy Chronicles will tear at your heart and open a world of understanding.
Delving deep into her own memories, and exploring the ins and outs of her childhood, and the emotional trauma she grew up with, Jayne Martin invites you to learn her story, to join her and to relate your life to her own.
I find writing a review for such a deep book, wherein Jayne opens up her mind and allows you to step inside and have a look around, difficult. To give this book the credit it deserves, I find it tricky to review it as I would review any other book. Talking about fictional characters, and discussing their traumas is almost easy, but delving into words that speak of the past, that follow a real person – I find myself conflicted as to whether to go into things in quite so much detail.
I will start by saying, this is not the kind of book I would normally read. I am not generally a fan of memoirs, although I have never been entirely sure why. It is, perhaps, the way they are laid out, following a life from start to a finishing point, and the writing style of memoirs is always so much different than the writing style of fiction novels. This book, however, was different. Jayne has a truly unique writing style. The voice she uses to write in changes as she writes about herself at different ages, not going into subjects and reasons her younger self wouldn’t have understood, while making such things painfully clear to the reader. The layout and short chapters almost reminds me of a poetry book, which in itself is a very smart stylistic choice. When I think of reading poetry, I think of digging deeper, trying to find a meaning behind everything, and with this book, Jayne reminds that there isn’t always a meaning, there isn’t always a reason – sometimes, even though you feel otherwise, there isn’t anything that you could’ve done to change the outcome. I also particularly loved the way Jayne shows her attachment to different people by whether or not she reveals their names. While her childhood best friend may be named, the-girl-who-is-not-my-sister whom Jayne never grew close to remains simply that in Jayne’s mind. It gives a layer of distance between the person and the reader, for the reader can never really get to know them, as Jayne never did.
I cannot easily relate to Jayne, for I am lucky that my parents have been together and happy my whole life, although Jayne paints a very vivid picture of how, no matter what happens around her, not having her father around is something she is always painfully aware of. Like a stone in her shoe, Jayne constantly feels her father’s absence, although there is little she can do about it, and has to simply deal with the pain and keep on walking. I can feel Jayne’s pain and sadness through the words, as she desperately searches for a feeling of love and security that only her father can give her, but she isn’t going to receive from him. Throughout her life, she was lost, jumping around both mentally and physically, struggling through different traumas and an immense feeling of loneliness while moving from place to place through her mother’s relationships, and then her own.
This book itself is very short and easy to read, I read it within about twenty minutes, although I am a fast reader. It is a simple book if you are just consuming words and moving on. But, when you look even just slightly deeper than what is on the surface, you find a pool of emotion, and it is all too easy to fall forwards and start to drown. I fear losing my father, but to never have known him? To go my whole life without the love and support I feel is almost a given in life? Jayne’s words bring a perspective that I’ve never been able to properly observe before, and needless to say, this is a book that truly moved me.
This was a difficult review to write. As mentioned in the review itself, I don't read memoirs, and when writing, I realised just how many conclusions I jump to when writing about fictional characters, which is something I do not feel is right to do when writing about a person.
Anyway, that's all for now...