What My Father Gave Me

Edited by Melanie Little

Passionate, compelling essays reveal how daughters see their fathers.

Editor Melanie Little brings together seven outstanding women — including Susan Olding, Jessica Raya and Saleema Nawaz — to write brilliant, powerful accounts of father-daughter relationships during their teen years.

These deeply personal narratives draw readers into raw, real-life experiences. One girl recalls the parade of men in her mother’s life until a man named Al unexpectedly becomes the father she never had. Another father’s abandonment leads his teen daughter to enter a string of doomed relationships with older men, fuelled by her “pilot light of pure hatred.” Another reveals the harrowing secret she guarded as a teen: the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

One girl watches as the father she loves and respects struggles on the picket lines during a lockout at work and through an ensuing depression. Another daughter charts her own reckless behavior against that of her father’s, in search of a way to break the cycle.

Gutsy and honest, these true stories invite readers behind secret doors as they celebrate the power of words to connect to the teen experience.

Praise for What My Father Gave Me

“It is a joy and an honour to read their stories. Strongly written, and compelling, they will…help teen readers…come to better understand their own feelings. Highly recommended.” —CM Magazine 

“Powerfully written, there is bound to be at least one story in this collection that will break your heart, bring you to tears, or inspire you to make changes.” —What If? Magazine 

“In her introduction to this follow-up of Certain Things about My Mother: Daughters Speak (2003), editor Little explains, “I hope that, for some of you, these essays will…be a door–perhaps a door to a better understanding of your father, but more importantly, to a better understanding of, and appreciation for, yourself.” … Readers looking for an encouraging message won’t find it here, though they will discover a wide range of experiences and an overall message of resilience and love through difficult times. This is a powerful exploration of the tremendous sway fathers have in their daughters’ lives.”  —Booklist 

“Little has done a beautiful job assembling a collection that is uniformly heart-wrenching and well-written.” —Quill and Quire 

“In these seven stories, daughters recount sometimes challenging, sometimes disappointing and sometimes poignant relationships with their fathers. These tales are gritty, candid and very personal and I think that every daughter would benefit from hearing how greatly the power of other fathers wield and maybe even look deeper into their own relationship…. I was in awe of the unbelievably honest accounts these writers gave of their own teenage experiences and familial ties… [This is] a perfect book for any library or student counsellor’s office and a perfect read for any teen who may be interested in exploring the sometimes volatile and always pivotal life with the first man they will ever love.” —Word of Mouse Book Reviews 

“Written by seven female writers…each account is deeply felt and readers will undoubtedly relate to one or more of their stories. Poignant…and well written.” —Foreword Reviews 

“In this collection of first person essays seven women discuss their adolescent relationships with their fathers and how they affected their adult lives… [The] essays are intensely personal and honest and the writers do not shy away from discussing some very painful subjects. Teens will appreciate this honesty and openness, making this anthology a good choice for YA collections.” —School Library Journal