Book Review: Fatherhood Stories About Being A Dad
Guest Post By Mr B!
Fatherhood stories about being a Dad. Bestselling author and acclaimed actor William McInnes returns with a book about a subject close to his own heart: Fatherhood.
William McInnes, one of Australia’s best-known storytellers and actors, has turned to a subject that is close to his heart. Fatherhood is about family, about memories of his father and the memories he’s creating as a dad himself, with his own son and daughter.
There is a wonderful little story in this book about the relationship between a father and daughter.
McInnes recalls how he was watching the movie “Taken” one night when his teenage daughter came home
from work. I only saw the movie for the first time recently and can recommend it if you are worried about
becoming a washed-up ageing Dad. Liam Neeson plays a one-man SAS unit in rescuing his abducted
daughter. In one scene, the former CIA agent is talking down a phone line to one of the Albanian
kidnappers and he says he has “a particular set of skills” that he will use on them and will kill them if they
don’t release his daughter immediately:
Here is the chat between McInnes and his daughter:
“Would you do that for me Dad?
Would you fight in that sped up way and dye your hair to rescue me if I got abducted?
Christ alive, don’t say that! Why would you say that?
Come on, would you run around like that and use your particular set of skills to save me?
Well, it doesn’t have to be me getting abducted then – what if someone took my seat on the train? Or
someone pushed in front of me at a shop. Or took my coffee?
I’d have a crack.”
His daughter laughs: “With your particular set of skills!”
McInnes says: These days, when (his daughter) asks me if I could give her a lift to a station or drop over a
book or some little favour, she says, ‘Hey, I need your particular skills, Dad,’ and I smile.
A beautiful story which captures the essence of a father’s feelings for his daughter in a very understated
This book by William McInnes is full of stories and anecdotes “about being a Dad”. The problem with these
types of books though is that not every story resonates with every reader. That was the case with me.
Some I got. Some I didn’t.
One I got involved McInnes’ own father taking him to a night of amateur boxing at the local Police Citizens
Youth Club. This took me back to my father taking my brother and I to a boxing gym because he thought we
should learn how to fight. We lived on the outskirts of Brisbane and the gym he took us to was at Samford
which is a small community just outside of Brisbane. The local kids thought it was great. Instead of
pounding each other, they could beat us up!
The author also has to somehow squeeze all the stories together in a way that makes sense. I think
McInnes struggles with this. It wasn’t clear to me where he was going in the first two chapters, but he
begins to join the dots later in the book.
McInnes grew up in Queensland at the same time as me so there are a few references to things like “little
lunch” and “dagwood dogs” which brought back memories, but by and large, I can’t say that I connected
with all of the stories in this book.
Does it matter?
I read an interesting book years ago by Melvyn Bragg called: “12 Books That Changed the World, How
Words and Wisdom Have Shaped Our Lives”. Bet you didn’t think I would be going down this path, William
The books Bragg cites are learned or scientific like Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton and On the
Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. They form the basis for our Western society like the Magna Carta or An
Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. They have caused social
change like On the Abolition of the Slave Trade by William Wilberforce. They even touch on sport via The
Rule Book of Association Football and culture, The First Folio by William Shakespeare.
There are no books on Fatherhood. Or Motherhood. No self-help books here (unless you count The King
Why is that?
Books like this are subjective. They contain stories and advice based on the writers’ experiences, education
and training. Different writers writing about Fatherhood or Motherhood, for example, could write
completely different things. There is no single foundation on which to change the world.
The other thing is that, let’s face it, the books Bragg writes about are pretty boring. Except for Shakespeare,
there is no heroic creative writing here. Where is the love? Where is the passion?
I can only cite from Robin Williams in my favourite movie, Dead Poet’s Society:
But can one or two stories in books like these touch the life of a reader? Of course they can.
That is what matters!
McInnes says his book is not a manual of how to be a father. It is just stories about Fatherhood. It might
have a big headline, but it is small stories. And I think that is what Fatherhood is about…..small stories
happening every day………… for a lifetime.
The Taken story is one which struck me. For me, this book was worth reading just for that story. Other
readers might go for another story.
We all have stories about our Dads. They are personal to our relationship with our fathers. They are all
different just as all Dads are different. Reading books like this brings back memories. They help us reflect on
what people we love mean to us. And you might even be inspired to write down your own stories!
Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderfully different Dads out there!
Grab a copy of Fatherhood Stories About Being A Dad for your Dad here!
Thanks, Mr B for the guest blog!