Thursday, June 12, 2014

Librarians' Line-Up: Best (and worst) Literary Fathers

In honor of Father's Day this Sunday, we're talking about our favorite literary dads (and grandpas. and maybe a bad dad.)

Carson Drew from Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is the classic girl sleuth whose vigor and all too perfect personality won over millions of fans, but it’s her daddy, Carson Drew, that I’ll talk about. Carson is a dad that lets his little girl do what she wants. He encourages her as an amateur detective and helps her out when possible. Although letting a sixteen year old chase down dangerous criminals may not be the most well thought out idea, Carson is still one of my favorite literary dads. His assistance and devotion to his daughter is clear, and although sometimes he treats Nancy more like a companion than a daughter, for a widower in the 1930s, I applaud him.

Grandpa Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Grandpa Joe supports Charlie and believes that he has just as much right to win the Golden Ticket as anyone does. He won't let Charlie give up on his dreams, and you can't get a much better grandpa than that.

The Father from The Road by Cormac McCarthy
After some sort of earth-shattering, apocalyptic event, a man and his child must travel on foot, fighting to stay alive. After the loss of his wife, the man only has his son, and does everything to keep him happy and safe. The only world the boy knows is this one, and the father does his best to tell him of the past, including sharing a can of pop with the boy, who has never experienced it before. He is an excellent father, always putting his child first, especially in the face of danger. (Amanda also sides with me on this one!)

Mamoru from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
This isn’t the best example, but I’m right in the middle of reading Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, so it’s stuck in my head. In volume three, a strange little girl falls from the sky claiming she’s come from the thirtieth century and she needs the help of the Sailor Scouts (That’s Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus for those of you unacquainted with the Japanese manga by Naoko Takeuchi). As it turns out, she’s the future daughter of our eponymous hero and her true love, Mamoru. Mamoru makes it his mission to protect their child (even entering a space-time storm chasing after her) giving Sailor Moon the freedom to battle evil.

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird
I would have to go with Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is an amazing father. He understands that the world can be a cruel place, and he tries his best to raise his children to be critical thinkers who will stand up for what is right, even if that means standing alone. Atticus is willing to put everything on the line if it means fighting for the truth. He is compassionate and loving, and a good role model.

(Worst!) Billy Dent from I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Jasper (Jazz) Dent's dad spent lots of time with him. He even took Jazz to work and had him help out. Which would have been just dandy, if Billy Dent wasn't a serial killer - the most prolific serial killer in recent history. But, now, that Mr. Dent is in jail, there is a new serial killer in town and people are starting looking at Jazz. Jazz decides he needs to find the real killer, because who knows serial killers better than the son of one? I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is a highly entertaining, yet thought provoking book that introduces Billy Dent, the Anti-Dad; the dad no one ever wants to have.

What is your favorite (or least favorite) literary father?

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