Thursday, January 12, 2017

Father's Day by Simon Van Booy

Harvey is a girl just living her life as little girls do.  When she is six, one day she is told her parents have both died in a car accident.  The family was small and there aren't grandparents to step in.  Harvey's only living relative is an uncle who had not been in contact with his brother since they were children.  Jason, the uncle, cut off contact when he went to prison for blinding a man in a bar fight.  Jason had been his brother's protector against their father who was an abusive alcoholic.  He didn't want his brother's chance at a good life done in by an ex-con with no prospects.

Now, years later, Jason ekes out a living by cruising thrift shops and finding things he can resell on Ebay and Craigslist.  He is not the typical kind of person who would be considered to raise a small girl, but the social worker, Wanda, sees something in him that makes her want to put the two together.  Jason flatly refuses but Wanda brings Harvey over to introduce her.  Before he knows it, Jason agrees and the court grants him temporary custody.  That later gets changed to a permanent basis and Jason becomes the only parent Harvey will know.

Simon Van Booy has written a charming tale of how the relationship between these two unlikely individuals works out over the years.  Jason knows nothing about raising a child but his heart is in the right place and soon there is nothing he wouldn't do for Harvey.  Harvey learns self-sufficiency and caring from Jason and grows into an accomplished woman.  

Van Booy has written several anthologies and novels, including Everything Beautiful Began After.  In this work, he explores the nature of parental love and the bond that grows between members of a family.  Harvey gets what she needs, a parent, but Jason also gets what he needed, a life work that gives him scope to work out his own issues and realize that he has worth even with his background.  Readers will cheer for Jason as he takes steps from being an isolated, separate individual to someone who can offer and receive friendship and love.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in family relationships and how people can change.

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