“We are all writing our maybe books full of maybe tomorrows, and each maybe tomorrow brings another maybe tomorrow, and then another, until the last line of the last page receives its period.”
In 2003, already an older father, National Book Award–winning novelist Tim O’Brien resolved to give his young sons what he wished his own father had given to him—a few scraps of paper signed “Love, Dad.” Maybe a word of advice. Maybe a sentence or two about some long-ago Christmas Eve. Maybe some scattered glimpses of their rapidly aging father, a man they might never really know. For the next fifteen years, the author talked to his sons on paper, as if they were adults, imagining what they might want to hear from a father who was no longer among the living.
O’Brien traverses the great variety of human experience and emotion, moving from soccer games to warfare to risqué lullabies, from alcoholism to magic shows to history lessons to bittersweet bedtime stories, but always returning to a father’s soul-saving love for his sons.
The result is Dad’s Maybe Book, a funny, tender, wise, and enduring literary achievement that will squeeze the reader’s heart with joy and recognition.
About the Author
TIM O’BRIEN received the 1979 National Book Award for Going After Cacciato. Among his other books are The Things They Carried, Pulitzer Finalist and a New York Times Book of the Century, and In the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. He was awarded the Pritzker Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military writing in 2013.
“Brilliant…To say the book is about ‘fatherhood’ is akin to saying that Catch-22 is about World War II.” — VVA Veteran
“Tim O’Brien has written amazingly powerful novels. Now he’s gifting us with a terrific book of personal essays. His every just-the-right word about family, history, war, literature, and love dispatched tears and laughter and contemplation into my brain and heart.” — Orange County Register
“Ruminations and reminiscences of an author—now in his 70s—about fatherhood, writing, and death…An eclectic assembly of pieces.” — Kirkus
“O'Brien uses his deft skill of wordplay throughout this latest book…Fans of parenting books, memoirs, and stories of Vietnam War veterans will find enjoyment in these heartfelt words.” — Library Journal
“[A] tender memoir…With great candor, O’Brien succeeds in conveying the urgency parents may feel at any age, as they ready their children for life without them.” — Publishers Weekly
“A moving meditation on fatherhood.” — The National, Amtrak’s magazine
“O’Brien writes of the bitter irony of being known as a war writer, ‘despite my hatred for war, despite my ineptitude at war, despite my abiding shame at having participated in war.’” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A warm book filled with a fathers love for his sons.” — Triboro Banner
“Touching…A dazzling dedication to life, love, and fatherhood.” — Austin Monthly