Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler is the heartbreaking and powerful true story of what happens when a father of two young girls is diagnosed with an extremely aggressive and life-threatening cancer. Bruce Feiler was only in his forties when he learned he had bone cancer, and he was instantly concerned about what life would be like for her his twin girls if he was no longer in their life. Within a few days he had come up with the concept of a Council of Dads, a group of men who were not biologically related to him but rather friends that represented different facets of himself and would be able to give his daughters advice and let them in on what their dad would have thought.

Feiler is the author of several acclaimed non-fiction books but with The Council of Dads he lets the reader into his own life and what an extremely difficult year in his life was like. The memoir intertwines with a lesson and short biography of each of the six dads on Feiler's council, as well as letters he sent to family and friends about his illness, and of course some of his own advice for his daughters.

Instantly upon reading the synopsis of The Council of Dads I knew it would be a sad book, but because of Feiler's skilled writing it is so much more than that. It makes you laugh and smile and it warms your heart. It's a powerful testament to the strength that people can find in impossible situations, and the bravery of an ordinary man. The Council of Dads is an emotional and moving story which sticks with the reader, reminding them of the value of each day. Unlike Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin which I read recently and is also about a man's relationship with his daughter in tragic circumstances, the reader is able to maintain a sense of optimism throughout The Council of Dads because we know that Feiler comes out okay and that is how he is able to write the memoir in the first place. I think that Feiler's positive attitude throughout his experiences, even though he is realistic about his chances of surviving, means that despite its serious subject matter this is not a bleak book.

An interesting aspect of The Council of Dads that I didn't expect is the insight into the uniqueness of male friendships, and how important good friends are. There is so much talk in the world about deadbeat dads, it is definitely a nice change to read a book written by a man who is clearly a loving and caring father and is more concerned than anything about the impact his absence would have on his daughters. With Father's Day approaching, I could not think of a better book to recommend than The Council of Dads.

Release Date: April 27th, 2010
Pages: 256
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.


  1. this sounds wonderful. what a beautiful concept, indeed.


  2. You are so right - a book from a loving, caring, involved dad is a rarity. What a shame that that should be true.

    This sounds like a very inspiring read. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for being on the tour.


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