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Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be First-time Dad


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A uproariously funny reflection of the delirious joy and looming fear of imminent fatherhood


Despite my tastes as a reader, as a reviewer, I usually steer clear of anything factual or personal as it's hard to give a fair shake at what is or was actually someone's life. Yet the preview of this novel, classed under "Biographies & Memoirs" (a category I also avoid like the plague it often can be), drew me in with its droll, uniquely British humour -- and fortunately, I was not disappointed; it kept me thoroughly entertained.

Uproariously funny from beginning to end, "Dear Dory" follows a man's coming-of-age journey into fatherhood. From the moment the stick turns blue, our Daddy-to-be veers from exuberant joy to panic:

You will be loved unconditionally and parenting you will be our greatest privilege. A challenge, yes, but a privilege -- and a joy. But then comes fear. You might have instantly become our most valued possession, but you're also our most vulnerable one.

Finding solace in journaling his thoughts, the author makes us smile all the way through as he cringes from the hormonal swings of his partner:

Who is this monster, Dory, and what has it done with your Mummy?

...And right on the heels of that, comes a dark shock wave:

I had a dream that Mummy had a miscarriage... I daren't tell Mummy. I spare a thought for all the other parents out there who don't get to wake up from the dream, because it's not a dream, it's a reality.

The relationship truly gives the novel its identity and a depth that warms the soul. It is evident that they love each other deeply, and though the book is about "Daddy", we fall in love with "Mummy" as well (particularly when "Daddy" is having one of the moments when she's reconsidering her choice of partner!)

This was not just about fatherhood, but also a coming-of-age tale into manhood as he considers financial rejigging responsibilities; the challenges of perhaps parenting a special needs child; the changing generational politics of parenting; and identity as a concept that is forever in flux -- one may identify as a parent first, but there are so many more roles that still need nurturing to retain one's sense of self.

Beneath all these ups and downs, he highlights that while mothers go through so much to bring a child into the world, and he has the utmost respect for them (and their carers), still -- and this is the message that stays with us:

You have to understand how crazy this whole child-growing business is from a soon-to-be father's perspective as well.

As a new-ish mother myself, I had a great appreciation for this story that touched on many nuances of pregnancy that felt so familiar. There is a particular craft of a writer to interweave such profundity nestled in the novel's overarching humour, and I enjoyed the entire journey. I would highly recommend to any adult reader, especially to those who have already experienced the joy and terror of parenting, or who are now beginning their journey. The journey is a long, arduous one, so hats off to anyone who is going through it now!


Reviewed by

Author, editor (15+ yrs) & avid reader/reviewer of most genres. When I love a book, I LOVE a book. Please share the love and upvote my own novel via: sfortuneauthor.com/upvote ***Note: Instead of Reedsy tips, you can directly support my Reviews via: ko-fi.com/sfortuneauthor***


About the author

Hi. I'm Tom, a writer who writes to his son every day about parenthood from a dad’s point of view. I do this through journaling, a practice I have found to be an incredibly broad and dynamic way of telling a story. view profile

Published on October 29, 2020

Published by

80000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

Reviewed by