Once in a while a novel comes along that hooks you in like an octopus's tentacles in the middle of an ocean whirlpool, clinging to your soul. That was Lily King's Father of the Rain.
Daley's relationship with her parents is complicated to say the least. Her liberal, free-spirited mother takes Daley and leaves her New England WASP alcoholic father one summer in her childhood and things are never the same. Her father falls into a deeper abyss and remarries her best friend's mother. He becomes even more verbally brutal than he was before they left. As Daley reaches adulthood she begins to accept that she cannot control her father's treatment of her and that she must move on in order to be whole--until she is called back to her father's bedside as he hits rock bottom. Can she learn to move on, or will she always be in the grasp of the man who filled her heart and summarily broke it over and over and over again?
I found this book to be heartbreaking, lovely, and angering all at the same time. There was one point where I was so mad at Daley's choices I threw the book across the room. I mean I actually lifted up the book and launched it across my living room I was so mad. I won't tell you the exact choice, but it was one where I felt she gave her father more credence than he deserved. She gave up a piece of her soul, I felt, and I couldn't handle the anger I felt at her willingness to throw away an amazing opportunity to stand by the man who so forcefully broke down her psyche for so many years.
What I mean by this is that King's characters are so real, so genuine, and so well-developed that I cared about them. She is an adept writer and I found myself living in Daley's life. I wanted the best for her, and I wanted her to choose well. I hated the power her father had over her, and I wanted to shake her and make her aware that she didn't have to take it--that she had choices, and she could say no. This was such a beautiful book and I am so thankful I was able to live with it for a few hours.
Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.