My Father's Son: A Memoir

My Father's Son: A Memoir

by John Davis


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Every family has secrets. Ours were just bigger than others. "My earliest memory is of a gun." That gun was in his father's hand - and it was pointed at his mother's head. John Davis grew up in the 1970s and '80s on the rough streets of Brooklyn, a place where no one thought twice when parents smacked around their kids-or each other. At the center of the tumultuous neighborhood, and John's world, was his larger-than-life father, Roberto. The Argentinean butcher and kingpin drug dealer was a sadistic bully whose mercurial temper left a trail of tears and chaos across his family. John, in particular, seemed to bear the brunt of Roberto's wildly swinging moods. Any wrong word could cause an explosion. Every knock on the door might be one of Roberto's enemies, or the police. In his publishing debut, Davis recounts how he spent his childhood in constant terror and his teen years learning to fight back. But it was much later, as an adult, that he learned the most shocking thing of all about his father, his past, and himself. Told with raw honesty and deep emotion, My Father's Son is a memoir of fear, abuse, survival, and identity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478764199
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 12/09/2015
Pages: 158
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

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My Father's Son: A Memoir 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
ItalianBrownEyedGurl More than 1 year ago
Im a friend of the author from the 2nd part of his life. When John and I spoke he told me a brief part of his past that lead into the 2nd part of his life. Hearing this from him I was very touched. I told him from Day 1, your life should be written into a story or a movie without even knowing the full depth of it. I will be upfront with you, I dont enjoy reading. Never did, not as a child or grown adult. The 150 pages was the most I read in a few hours and all joking aside, probably the most I ever read in one shot in my lifetime. I was very drawn into the story from the very 1st line, My Earliest Memory is of a gun. I thought to myself, what a sad memory especially looking back and comparing it to my childhood. By Chapter 3 & 4, I was in tears. Some of John's fathers ways in those 2 chapters reminded me of awful memories of my own experience with my ex-husband. So I felt John's pain! I was so sadden by what my now friend experienced as a child through his teenage years and tried to grasp how he kept his sanity. Coming from The Bronx, I could relate to John's lifestyle of growing up in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Almost everybody portrays to be that tough guy. But reading it, I knew that nobody better cross his father or they would pay a high price. My friends childhood was a real life "GoodFellas" or "A Bronx Tale" combined. Finally as I reached Part II of the book, my tears turned to a warm heart and I was happy that John discovered his "new" family and that his biological father is very much alive in everyones heart. It amazed me that even with such an abusive upbringing how John maintained himself as a good person and didnt follow his stepdads footsteps. It makes me proud to call him my friend and to see the man he is today. I cant say enough about this book. Its a definite must read!!!! Highly recommended! It goes to prove that no matter where you come from in life, you could be anything you want to be or make a change as long as you put your mind to it and stay focus!
BrendaMax More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Oh wow, I loved this book and read the whole thing in one week, which is fast for me, (I have such limited reading time!) But it just seemed to go by so fast and I never wanted to stop reading it, even late into the evening. I was mesmerized by the story John Davis tells in “My Father’s Son, A Memoir” a story of a remarkable life told so realistic and authentically, yet covering many experiences many of us will never really go through (but some will!)… At times it read almost like a soap opera, but other times like a great drama. Crazy to think it’s all real, and it was really interesting to read as the author takes us through all the different stages and experiences in his life. Too much happens in this book to cover properly in a short review so you really just have to read it for yourself… you will not be disappointed!
Coreeez More than 1 year ago
John Davis has an incredible way with words; his descriptions are vivid; you see what he is seeing, you feel what he is feeling; you feel like you are there part of the story and going through it all with him, for better or worse…. The reader is there on his journey through his life with him experiencing what he was, good and bad. I found the book very hard to put down, as I had to know what would happen next, and nothing was predictable or cliché. Each time I did have to stop reading, I found myself thinking and pondering on what I had read, and what might happen next. This is an excellent book; it makes you feel, it makes you think. Loved the ending and how John Davis writes from the heart and with such passion. Recommend for fans of nonfiction bio/memoirs. Probably best suited for adults due to language and some mature parts. Not sure if this was a one-shot deal from the author or not, but I for one hope to read more form him in the future.
Darla_Ortiz More than 1 year ago
I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens in this book, “My Father’s Son: A Memoir” by John Davis and I don’t want to give anything away… But this was definitely one of the most interesting and realistic books I’ve read in a while. The writing is great, and even though the block formatting bugged me at first until I got used to it, the editing was very clean too. Fast paced with one thing after another (especially in the second half) and it is never boring or dull as the book takes us through the various events and unique circumstances of the narrator’s life from childhood to current times. The various ‘vignettes’ of his life make for some fascinating reading, and although I was satisfied with the ending, I admit I was a bit surprised by it and impressed because I didn’t see it ending that way… (no spoilers). I for one hope to read more from this talented author in the future. Recommend. 4 1/2 stars
GillianH More than 1 year ago
to be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect in reading this book but I am interested in “true life” sagas and other people’s experiences. So I began reading with an open mind and heart, eager to see what was in store. Immediately I was won over by the author’s easy writing style…his candor and sense of humor and ability to look deep within himself and really see the ‘bigger picture’ really came through every page. Everyone has suffering and tragedy in their life and not everyone knows how to cope and deal with the curveballs life can deliver. Some become victims forever, others get it together and find a way to become better and stronger for what they have endured. It is natural to go through struggles but it is how you deal with it that matters. I thought John Davis’s candor was admirable, and I had a hard time putting this book down at any point because I was totally hooked. And the ending left me almost in tears. Such a powerful read that moved me much more than I ever thought it would
SteffyC More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book by John Davis, and the fact that it is based on his true life is completely crazy! I thought it was excellently written, and in a very lively, natural tone. It definitely kept my attention from the dramatic, shocking opening to the finish. It is a relatively quick read (or maybe I just gobbled it down fast!) one I finished in the course of a few evenings. I was surprised by how much his story moved me, and I felt like I could relate on some level—like at parts he was almost talking to me. I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened, and thought the pacing, the narrative flow, and the editing was all great, much better than I was expecting! I thought the premise sounded intriguing enough, but I thought it was much more cleverly executed than I originally thought it would be and with more emotionally surprising moments. The writing is crisp, clear, and eloquent and the pacing was excellent throughout. I was interested in the author’s experiences right from the beginning, and each character really brought something to the table, and I liked that it all seemed “human” and very well-realized… like genuine people going through troubles that we could relate to on some level. Fans of nonfiction and memoirs will enjoy this. In my opinion this book has great general fiction crossover appeal.
ElizaBEB More than 1 year ago
warning………when starting this book make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an attention grabbing introduction to John Davis’ life, and we follow him on his journey of ups and downs, highs and lows. This is a gut-wrenching and gritty read with some really awful scenes, but also can be very uplifting and inspiring. The characters that come in throughout the story were genuine and believable, and I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author managed to create where it felt intimate, like a close friend was telling me this really awesome, funny, horrible, amazing story that I didn’t want to stop reading about. It is very well-written and the story moves swiftly form one scene to the next and you are hooked throughout. Appreciated the ending and how it all wrapped up. Very nice. Recommend for fans of edgy biography/memoirs.
MissLewingtonKatie More than 1 year ago
I cannot imagine how strange it must feel to sit down and start to pen your memoir, as John Davis does in this book My Father's Son. Especially with the subjects of this book being grief, loss, abuse, drugs, crime, family and identity. It is not a book that goes deeply into the history of his family, in fact he admits there are details he cannot tell us because he has no information or recollection of them. This is unlike the majority of memoirs where their subject seems to remember everything. John does a stellar job of turning his childhood into a story that a reader is able to, for want of a better word, enjoy. There are poignant moments and terrifying moments, where you question the minds of the adults that were meant to be taking care of their children and not abusing them. The first half of this book is truly gut wrenching and to have the second half so uplifting has quite a powerful effect. This is a wonderful book and I thank the author for publishing and sharing with us his story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Family, Happiness, Abuse, Adoption, Emotions, Drugs, Convictions, Guilt, Betrayal, Discovery, Loss, Survivor . . . Its story is packed with more power than imagined . . . This is a non-fiction story that opens in the state of Brooklyn. The author’s tone is informal and told in first person. Personally, I don't know this author (John Davis) but was able to follow his shoe prints through his journey. It’s a riveting tale that readers are bound to enjoy. Thus far, reviewers have exposed much of what the book is about. So presented from a different perspective, readers, I found . . . It is a well laid out memoir about the author (John), from those childhood years to adulthood. As a writer and author, John has done a great job in bringing in content and structure . . . while presenting an in-depth and colorful picture of the characters; the storyline; and the scene itself. Flipping through the pages, its descriptive elements will actually draw a reader into visualizing every detailed moment. I too must agree with an earlier reviewer’s insight: The organization pattern this author used to break down the scenes were impressive. Throughout the story the “show me” moments were prevalent. That in itself is skillful of this author’s ability to be a storyteller. For many of us, we grew up in life with torn and dysfunctional families. Undoubtedly, it is that damaged relationship which pumps out a great story. And this is a compelling one. It is interesting, enlightening, touching, emotional, and heartbreaking all wrapped in a neatly-sized package. What a gratifying story! And yes, it is a bit of a tear jerker. So this author, I say thanks for releasing a fascinating tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I begin to read a book and the opening pages have such an impact on me I know I will put all else aside until I finish reading the book. The memoir ‘My Father’s Son’ by John Davis is such a book. It is a vivid searing account of a boy growing to manhood in Brooklyn in the 1970s. It is a compelling narrative. It was if I was there, images and scenes in my mind as if I was watching a movie. At times I ached for young John, at other times felt his small triumphs against an angry brutal father. His father Roberto, an undocumented immigrant from Argentina, and his mother AnneMarie, from an immigrant Sicilian family, a younger brother Anthony, grandparents living upstairs, other relatives close by, was the world he knew. His father was a butcher and John was soon introduced to the tricks and scams of the trade, Though John worked hard his father continually verbally abused him, demeaning him, sometimes on the verge of attacking him., cruelties inflicted on him and others. John became aware his father was taking gambling wagers, running numbers, then later got into dealing drugs, using his young son to make deliveries too innocent to know what he was doing. His father began making a lot of money, bought four Jaguar cars, looking for money, power and respect. John suspected his father was involved in criminal retaliation against those that crossed him. Life became worse with fights between his parents, his father was arrested, connections made the case go away, His father continued selling drugs from the butcher’s store. Then his father moved his mother and the two boys to a house on Staten Island. John’s life became a hell on Staten Island with his mother and her many sequential boyfriends and a hell returning on weekends to his father in Brooklyn. There were hints and mysteries aimed at him from his father’s new girlfriend. John recounts stories of his mother’s boyfriends, details that made me feel as if I knew them. There are many stories there for the reader to enjoy. The author has the ability to bring the reader into the narrative. His father was arrested and sent to jail. John grew older and even tried and failed to stop his deportation when he got out. Tears came to my eyes when I read he was 34 when his mother wrote to him to tell him the man who was so cruel to him wasn’t actually his real father. He must have been devastated when accumulating evidence destroyed what he thought of as his heritage. This is a wonderfully written book especially in the later sections as John found his true heritage and tears again came to my eyes with happiness that hr found his family and was treated like a long lost prince come home. I received this book as PDF file from the author for an honest review. This is an honest review. I don’t know John but I feel a kinship of experience with him.
JesseThomas More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars How to describe “My Father’s Son”, other than say it is by far one of the most engaging, entertaining books I’ve read in a long time! I have already loaned it to my mother to read, (it is right up her alley…) The author John Davis pulls us in to the story right from the beginning pages (which set the tone for the rest of this dramatic, provocative book), and skillfully narrates a wide-ranging storyline full of complex and deeply emotional issues. In my opinion it really is the characters who made this story so good, each so original and conflicted in their own way, and we pull for them throughout their personal journeys, especially John. A memorable read and a keeper for sure. Recommend for fans of literary fiction/memoirs. Would love to read more from John Davis someday.
JennaBrewster More than 1 year ago
Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and it’s hard to just sum up… “My Father’s Son” is one of the most interesting and addicting memoirs/biography’s books I’ve read in a while. First- the writing was stellar. The strong word choice and fluid prose makes it a very easy book to sink into and just get lost, and John Davis’s writing style is so natural and authentic – really pulls us right in. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. Great characters and characterizations, and some shocking twists to keep us hooked. There is quite the cast of characters that come through this storyline and affect John’s life one way or another… all interesting, some troubled and flawed, but all dynamic… I was sad when the book was done and definitely experienced the full range of emotions with this one. But the ending leaves us with hope, and I for one hope to read more from this talented author in the future.
ClaireBear74 More than 1 year ago
"My Father’s Son” by John Davis is an original and well-crafted memoir. I was completely drawn in from the get-go (that opening scene is quite a doozy!), and absolutely loved the author’s use of description of the different scenery and locales, and his attention to detail for the time period. There is a lot of life and drama in these pages, and John Davis is such a great storyteller, it’s like a friend or family member is talking and we just want to keep listening. It is told all in a lot of narrative prose, but fortunately there is lively dialogue as well to really give the characters an authentic flavor. A quick read that I finished in the course of a night, and I enjoyed every page… even the “harsher” ones. Recommend.