Relationship Between Father And Daughter Essay

Every Father’s Daughter winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award for Best Anthology

Twenty-four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers
Selected and Presented by Margaret McMullan
With an Introduction by Phillip Lopate

“What is it about the relationship between fathers and daughters that provokes so much exquisite tenderness, satisfying communion, longing for more, idealization from both ends, followed often if not inevitably by disappointment, hurt, and the need to understand and forgive, or to finger the guilt of not understanding and loving enough?” writes Phillip Lopate, in his introduction to Every Father’s Daughter, a collection of 25 personal essays by women writers writing about their fathers. The editor, Margaret McMullan, is herself a distinguished novelist and educator. About half of these essays were written by invitation for this anthology; others were selected by Ms. McMullan and her associate, Philip Lopate, who provides an introduction. The contributors include many well-known writers—Alice Munro, Jayne Anne Phillips, Alexandra Styron, Ann Hood, Bobbie Ann Mason, Maxine Hong Kingston, among others—as well as writers less well-known but no less cogent, inventive, perceptive, lacerating, questioning, or loving of their fathers.


From the Foreword by Margaret McMullan

“After my father died, I couldn’t read or write, perhaps because, in the end, my father was unable to read or write. I didn’t know it then, but I was looking for a collection of intensely personal essays, written by great women writers telling me about their fathers and how they came to know their fathers, a collection which might help me make some kind of sense of my own very close relationship with my father. I wanted to know from women, replacement sisters, if they had similar relationships with their fathers as I had with mine. Or, if their relationships were altogether different, I wanted to know how exactly these relationships were different. I wanted to know if the fact that my father was southern had anything to do with anything. I suppose, more than anything, I just wanted to know that I wasn’t alone in my love, my loss, my loneliness. I wanted to read this anthology, but it did not exist. Writers write the book they want to read. Editors do the same. This book came out of a need, my own, personal, selfish need.

“Eventually, I contacted the authors I loved and admired—some of them friends, some of them friends of my father’s. I never wanted this to feel like an assignment, but I suppose it was. I simply asked these women to tell me about their fathers. They took it from there. For some authors, the idea of writing about a father just clicked, and they wrote their essays, often within days of the request. We all have stories about our fathers, even if it’s a bad story or a non-story, it’s a story. If you write, you will read these essays and feel the need to write your own.

“I kept my father’s tastes very much in mind during the difficult but joyful process of selecting essays for this book. This collection reflects my father, and, of course, other fathers as well. These essays are a sort of collage or mosaic of fatherhood and all the ways daughters communicate or don’t with their fathers. Of course, there’s a long list of wonderful women writers not included here—this anthology really should extend itself into another volume.”

Praise for Every Father’s Daughter

As Margaret McMullan says in her foreword, "Our stories don't stop, even when lives end." Read full review.

– The Southern Register

...insightful clarity is on full display in Every Father's Daughter. In McMullan's foreword—which features a couple of the loveliest moments in the whole book—she talks about the passion for literature she shared with her father.

Read full review.

–  Literary Mama

A treat for daughters, fathers, and anyone who enjoys exploring relationships and their many twists and turns. Read full review.

– Library Journal

Margaret McMullan brings forth a powerful set of stories from 24 women that draws on the commonalities and differences of the father-daughter bond. Read full review.

– Nashville Scene

Here are twenty-four ways of looking at fatherhood by an incredible host of writers, including Jane Smiley, Ann Hood and Alice Munro, among others. Read full review.

– Parade Magazine

A 2015 "Sizzling Summer Read"
Best Gift for Fathers Who Read

...an honest, often heart-rending look at the significance of the father/daughter bond. The compilation's beauty lies in its contributors' willingness to express their raw emotions...McMullan's collection will help women to understand, cherish, or grieve their dads.

–  BUST Magazine

…rarely do we have the rich detail found in these essays from women writers who responded to an editorial request: ‘Tell me about your father.’…“Every Father’s Daughter” is a powerful gathering of tributes to memory, regret, love and sorrow. Read full review.

– Jackson Clarion-Ledger

A strange thing happens as we read these women remembering their fathers, for we inevitably think of and evaluate and sometimes eulogize our fathers, too.  We consider their childhoods and how they affected our childhoods, think of their legacies and how they affect our own…whether the words are written down or not, we read these memoirs and we begin our own.

– Notre Dame Magazine

Want to dive deeper than greeting-card sentiments this Father’s Day? Acclaimed author and University of Evansville professor Margaret McMullan has the gift for you. Read full review.

– Indianapolis Monthly

This anthology is a treasure trove...By turns sentimental and dark, McMullan's stunning collection has a wonderful purity. Read full review.

– Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review

McMullan’s selections likely fulfill the wish of many to address the loneliness felt following the loss of a father. “I wanted to read this anthology, but it did not exist,” she writes. Now it does, and readers will be grateful.
…a heartfelt, honest look at the father-daughter relationship…a celebration of the role of fatherhood and a celebration of self---we are who we are, the authors seem to echo, because of our fathers: who they were and who they weren't.

– Foreword Reviews

Consistently elucidating portraits.

– Kirkus Reviews

The relationship between a dad and his daughter is indeed beautiful. Read all about the father-daughter relationship in this article.

Festivals : Fathers Day : Father Daughter Relationship

Father Daughter Relationship

Father has a prime role to play in the life of his daughter. He is the first male that a girl comes across and hence, becomes the role model of her life. She sees the reflection of men in the rest of the world, through her dad and often perceives that all men should be like her father. Right from her childhood to adolescence to adulthood, he plays an influential role in her life. He is the guide, the savior, the protector, a friend and most importantly, the ultimate caretaker, who nourishes her in the loving and protective atmosphere set by him. She would find her daddy assuming a multi-faceted role, which changes with changing phases of life.

Although fathers are bestowed a primary role in their daughter's life, many of them don't realize the importance of interactions with their daughters, especially when the girls surpass the stage of childhood and become adolescent. The most common reason behind this is common perception of the men, according to which, their role as the 'significant parent' is just limited to the childhood of their daughters, and doesn't go beyond it. They think that their daughters have become too old to get closer. As a result, they tend to withdraw from the prime role of the parent and handover it to their significant half - their daughter's mother.

Fathers find themselves drift apart from their adolescent daughter, especially when it comes to sharing the best kept girly secrets. Their daughters think that not everything can be disclosed to their father and resort to their mother for the purpose. Communication for a father becomes even more difficult, when the girl reaches adulthood. Parenting issues for him become a bit complicated, especially when the girl reaches adulthood and transforms from merely a girl to a woman. At this stage of life, she finds her mother to take the lead (as the parent), when it comes to interacting with parents. Although a girl needs her mother the most at this point of time, fathers should realize that their role as a parent is never over and that the girl still needs her dad.

Gender difference is a major factor for such a situation. However, the issues pertaining to interaction of father with his grown up girl can be easily resolved. All it needs is the clear understanding of the fact that the girl has matured and needs to be freed from being nestled by fatherhood. However, the father should not forget that all through his daughter's life, he is one among the significant men in her life and that his role as a parent never ends. If he manages to mark his pronounced presence in every stage of life of his daughter, then the relationship with his daughter can prove to be the best of all.



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