The relationship between dads and their daughters is often complicated in ways neither understands or is likely to talk about much. A peek into the dad’s side of the equation can be glimpsed through a new collection of stories called What I Would Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On To and Letting Go of Their Daughters, edited by Andrea N. Richesin.
These stories honestly express the fears, hopes, insecurities, and dreams dads feel for their daughters. There are dads of newborn daughters, young daughters, adopted daughters, and adult daughters. One particularly powerful story even portrays a dad’s experience of having his wife deliver a stillborn baby girl. Each essay is moving in its own way. Some will make you laugh, and others will make you cry, but they will all give you reason to contemplate the father-daughter dynamic.
Pictures of the contributors with their daughters are in the back of the book, and I found myself studying the photo of a writer and his daughter after reading his essay. If you particularly like a writer’s style, in many cases you’ll also find other works he’s written listed in the bio. I’m not sure who would enjoy this book most, dads or daughters. Moms are likely to want to read it too, for the insights they may gain about their own dads as well as their husbands.