Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Day review

It seemed apropos to write up a review for She Still Calls Me Daddy, by Robert Wolgemuth, which I requested from Thomas Nelson as part of the Book Review Bloggers program. I didn’t expect this book would be very relevant to the family structure to which I’m now accustomed (basically, neither parent in the picture), but I thought I would give it a try.

She Still Calls Me Daddy is about how fathers can develop a new but meaningful relationship with their married daughters – basically, how things change after your little girl’s wedding. The author discusses topics such as how best to relate to one’s son-in-law, where a daughter’s priorities and loyalties should lie after marriage and what parents can do for their daughters (e.g. praying for her – good; buying furniture for her new house – not so good).

In other words, this book is 200 pages of (mostly) common sense and Biblical examples. It might be helpful if people are genuinely unaware that it’s not a good idea to go to one’s parents with marital problems, or if fathers believe that their adult children should share their views on drinking.

On the whole, though, the relationships it describes are so conservative that I can’t see this book working for anyone who is not a devout Christian. For instance, in the author’s family, children are encouraged to pray for their future spouses, and I couldn’t really relate to this. Also, a woman takes her husband’s last name after they marry, and since this amounts to discarding her daddy’s, it’s described as “throwing away her identity”.

And while it’s pleasant to read of families being affectionate with each other, the author’s relationship with his children seemed a little… enmeshed. For instance, he mentions that he and his daughters call or text each other every day, though one of his son-in-laws waited until after the wedding to tell his wife that he wasn’t comfortable with her kissing her father on the lips. Maybe it’s just that I grew up in a more reserved Asian family, though.

In conclusion, this book was generally inoffensive and sometimes sensible, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless I was certain that their family was similar to the author’s. It makes the Little House on the Prairie series look revolutionary in comparison.


JH said...

Title is creepy as hell. Much like basically everything about conservative Christian father-daughter relations.

colbymarshall said...

um, mildly creepy at times...sunds like a sappy read I'd prob stay away from. But I guess it's sweet, and it's nice to hear folks have such tight knit relationships with their fams.

Marian Perera said...

Oh good, I'm glad it wasn't just me. I half expected a reference to Purity Balls when I was reading this.

I think one problem is that there's really not a whole lot to say about "how to turn a wholesome, pure, loving, supportive relationship with your daughter as a child into a wholesome, pure, loving, supportive relationship with your daughter as a married adult". Not just an adult, mind you, but a married one.

So there are whole chapters devoted to "pray for her", "be aware that her marriage is the primary relationship in her life now" and so on.

Anonymous said...

The whole daddy kissing on the lips thing made me squick a bit. I mean I guess is kind of cute when your 5 (maybe) but not forever. A minor thing but then different strokes for different folks.

Marian Perera said...

I wonder, if this author had sons, would he be as comfortable with those sons kissing his wife on the lips?

But as you said, different things are the norm in different families.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere between "Freud was right about Hamlet, now pass the Braino(tm)" to "Thou Protest To Much, Me Thinks" or words to that effect!