Dad’s Maybe Book

Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2019. 400p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780618039708 .$28; ebk. ISBN 9780358116714. BIOG
Winner of the National Book Award in fiction for 1979’s Going After Cacciato, O’Brien uses his deft skill of wordplay throughout this latest book. In 2003, after becoming a dad at an older age, O’Brien began to realize that he never really knew much about his own father. To alleviate this concern for his sons, he decided to write letters to them as if the boys were adults reading the letters many years later. This collection begins with O’Brien telling the story of his first son’s initial month at home. The letters move on as the boys grow up, from fatherly concerns about his children’s lack of aggressive competition in sports to paragraphs about silly conversations with them. He even provides advice on writing. Some of the letters are more serious, including sharing his personal experiences as a combatant in Vietnam and the aftermath of battle for veterans. The title is based on his son’s suggestion that the letters could be collected in a “maybe book” written by his father.
VERDICT Fans of parenting books, memoirs, and stories of Vietnam War veterans will find enjoyment in these heartfelt words.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month

Like this premium article? Subscribe to LJ and get all of our premium content at your fingertips for 12 months.