When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood

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Overview

From some of today’s most critically acclaimed writersincluding Dennis Lehane, Justin Cronin, Andre Dubus III, and Benjamin Percycomes a rich collection of essays on what it means to be a dad. 

Becoming a father can be one of the most profoundly terrifying, exhilarating, life-changing occasions in a man’s life. Now 22 of today’s masterful writers get straight to the heart of modern fatherhood in this incomparable collection of thought-provoking essays. From making that ...

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When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood

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Overview

From some of today’s most critically acclaimed writersincluding Dennis Lehane, Justin Cronin, Andre Dubus III, and Benjamin Percycomes a rich collection of essays on what it means to be a dad. 

Becoming a father can be one of the most profoundly terrifying, exhilarating, life-changing occasions in a man’s life. Now 22 of today’s masterful writers get straight to the heart of modern fatherhood in this incomparable collection of thought-provoking essays. From making that ultimate decision to have a kid to making it through the birth to tangling with a toddler mid-tantrum, and eventually letting a teen loose in the world, these fathers explore every facet of fatherhood and show how being a father changed the way they saw the world—and themselves.

“One of the first things I learned about fatherhood was that my father was right: it was hard and it kicked the shit out of your life plan.”—Lev Grossman

“I wanted to hold him. I wanted to hold him close and never let go. But we have to let go, don’t we?”—Andre Dubus III 

“Bridges are engineered. Children are worked toward, clumsily, imperfectly, with a deep and almost religious faith in trial and error.”—Ben Greenman

“If you counted up the nights I’ve spent dancing to ‘Strangers in the Night,’ those hours would stretch three times around the equator.”—Garth Stein

“The most surprising aspect of parenting has been how much my pre-parenting life looks like a cloud in the rearview.”—Dennis Lehane

Contributors include
André Aciman, Chris Bachelder, David Bezmozgis, Justin Cronin, Peter Ho Davies, Anthony Doerr, Andre Dubus III, Steve Edwards, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Greenman, Lev Grossman, Dennis Lehane, Bruce Machart, Rick Moody, Stephen O’Connor, Benjamin Percy, Bob Smith, Frederick Reiken, Marco Roth, Matthew Specktor, Garth Stein, and Alexi Zentner

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-06
Nearly two dozen male writers contribute essays on the trials, tribulations and pleasures of being a father.Social commentators decry the rise of the "man-child" of the 21st century, who spends as much time now playing video games as he did when he was 15, couldn't fix the plumbing if his marriage depended on it, and so on. They're the men who can't find a single thing about their own character to question. It's an outlook on life that becomes difficult to maintain once one becomes a father, as more than one writer notes in this collection; parenting, like it or not, is a big "fun-suck." The writers here are a diverse bunch, and they've taken widely different paths exploring the human condition in novels, essays and journalism. In the ring with the young progeny, however, they are the pictures of confusion, punch-drunk and on the ropes. Dennis Lehane outlines how all of his delusions about adulthood and fatherhood were stripped away in not-gentle but also not-abnormal ways. Lev Grossman laments the loss of his life as a writer. However, when he returned to the desk, he found the writer not dead but transformed: better, stronger and faster. Ben Greenman, a little further along with a 12-year-old, writes about our memories of those foggy early parenting years, the sleepless nights and how we invent memories from that time that encapsulate events. Other contributors include Justin Cronin, David Bezmogis, Karl Taro Greenfield, Benjamin Percy, Rick Moody, Garth Stein and Andre Dubus III ("So much joy, as if my deepest, truest life could only begin once I became a father").This collection could be subtitled "Profiles in Perseverance": These fathers have fought the battles, and we lucky readers receive this collection of wry, moving stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425269244
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 141,715
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Gresko is a stay-at-home dad and writer based in Brooklyn. His essays and journalism have appeared on the Huffington Post, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, the Daily Beast, the Paris Review Daily, the Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among numerous other publications. He has also contributed to Glimmer Train and Slice magazine. He keeps a daily column about dads for Babble and is currently at work on a novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2014

    I highly recommed this book to anyone...what a great read!

    The authors in this anthology write eloquently and openly about being dads. As a parent (a mom!), reading these gems made me laugh, groan, and wince, but most of all made me feel connected; they give a nuanced voice to an experience shared by so many people, but rarely talked about in such an honest way. This book is perfect for dads and moms, new and well-experienced.

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  • Posted May 20, 2014

    Excellent collection of essays!  Well worth the reading.  I enjo

    Excellent collection of essays!  Well worth the reading.  I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and would recommend it to anyone to read

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    Posted May 7, 2014

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