Dad


Fiction - Literary
180 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Bob Seay realized he wanted to be a writer in 2013 when his Facebook status, “I Am Not Trayvon Martin”, went viral. The piece, which was recognized by the UK Guardian as one of the “10 Most Important Commentaries” about the Trayvon Martin case, was reprinted or mentioned in Huffington Post, USA Today, and multiple other media outlets; in two academic journal articles; and in at least one textbook. Bob lives in Colorado where he teaches high school band, choir, and guitar classes. In 2016, Bob took a break from teaching to run for Congress. Two out of three voters in his heavily conservative district indicated that they wanted him to keep on teaching music. He is the author of the novels The Band Room and Dad.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

"Jacob Martin’s life is not going well. His marriage is falling apart, his job is on the border of legal and illegal, and he’s living in what could generously be described as a dump. Now Dad, whose memory and mental faculties aren’t exactly what they once were, has decided to drive across the country for a visit. Forced into an unplanned road trip, Jacob finds love, enlightenment, and ultimately himself along the way. "

I left the synopsis portion of this review just as the author wrote it. That could be labeled borderline plagiarism perhaps, but certainly no more so than Jacob’s clients in his school paper writing business. I’m a big fan of commercial/genre fiction. Most of my literary fiction reads were required and read during English Lit classes. Dad by Bob Seay is clearly literary, with just enough commercialism to straddle the borders and make the read popular for lovers of both. Seay’s writing style is comfortable, witty, and fitting for his characters, all of whom are believable, likable, and/or as empathetic as any I’ve met in fiction. Dad and Jacob are especially well defined and carry the main storyline. Not to be marginalized, however, are the supporting characters that fill their roles perfectly, especially Jacob’s brother, sister, and spouses that include Jacob’s estranged wife, Brooke, and, last but not least, the exceptional “Beast.”

In his second novel, Bob Seay has crafted a story about a family that is at once poignant and wryly humorous with unforgettable characters and several memorable concepts concerning family relationships, dealing with a parent suffering dementia/Alzheimer's, love, and the simple things in life that mean so much. I can’t emphasize or praise this novel and Bob Seay’s writing style enough, but I’ll give it a go—it would not surprise me to read Bob Seay’s name on a Nobel Literature prize in the near future.

Deborah Lloyd

Author Bob Seay brings an authentic voice to the fictional work, Dad. The main character, Jacob, is already facing several challenging changes in his life. He has separated from his wife and moved into a small, temporary space. He left his teaching career and finds writing work online in a questionably legal way. When his father left his Cincinnati home to drive to Colorado to visit Jacob, and becomes lost, another emotional drama begins. Dad is dealing with dementia which has worsened since his loving wife died. He has moments of clarity, amid many fictitious memories, which is an accurate portrayal of dementia. Jacob has several unexpected trips and realizes what his two siblings have been dealing with in the past months.

The author paints a realistic picture of the daily dilemmas created by dementia. Dad forgets his wife has died, and he grieves anew again and again. There are many emotional struggles and heartbreaking decisions adult children must make in keeping a parent with dementia safe. One example of this is taking away Dad’s car keys. These difficult moments are balanced with Jacob’s humorous way of viewing his family and himself. Another realistic component is how Jacob is dealing with his dying marriage and unfulfilling career. The development of this main character, as well as his siblings and others, is crafted skillfully. The storyline captivates the reader from the first page to the last, providing a thought-provoking perspective in dealing with aging parents and how siblings deal with it – and each other. Dad, written by Bob Seay, is an excellent read!

Jon Michael Miller

In Dad by Bob Seay, we meet Jacob, our narrator and protagonist, in his mid to late thirties, struggling both in his professional world and in his marriage. With his "compulsion to tell everybody everything," he tells us his story as if we are his best friends, exposing all his failures and amusing quirks. Brooke, his wife, wants all his money, and he has lost his job as a high school teacher. In survival mode, he lives in Colorado and works as a ghost-writer of term papers for college students. He lives and works online from the back room of a laundry. His squalid existence is interrupted when he is informed by his brother back in Cincinnati that their dad, suffering from Alzheimer’s, has hit the road and is in a hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri. Jacob is the logical person to collect his old man. In so doing, he finds his dad having lunch with a hotel maid Amelia, who is watching over him. We soon become familiar with the sights along Interstate 70, as his dad tells Jacob about installing communications devices in St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. He has other stories about his activities on Mars and in submarines.

Despite Jacob’s honest flaws and his relentless search for self and redemption, I came to like and even to identify with him. Yes, he is largely responsible, as he admits, for his own problems. Fortunately, he is in a stable, tight-knit family, all intent on taking care of their sad, but sometimes funny dad. But I felt that Dad is the vehicle of the real underlying story, which is Jacob trying to dig himself out of the hole he has dug for himself. He meets his female spiritual twin in the person of Amelia, not really a hotel housekeeper but a refugee from nursing and an aspiring artist. She escapes from an abusive, Confederate flag-flying boyfriend into Jacob’s black Mustang convertible, nicknamed Beast, which hauls Jacob back and forth several times between Denver, Kansas City, Topeka, and Cincinnati. “We’re all doing the best we can,” says Amelia compassionately. I was both sadly moved and often amused by Jacob’s search for a better life. And along with the story, we learn a lot from the various topics Jacob ghost-writes about—nursing burnout, the Feds, Buddhism, and neo-Nazis, to name only a few. Oh, yes, and the Stanford Marshmallow Index, which somehow nibbles at Jacob’s core. And we meet a quirky, loving family in the turmoil of losing the family patriarch, who is quite an overarching backdrop in his own right. Author Bob Seay dedicates his novel Dad “to all families with aging parents,” and I cannot imagine a more accurate portrayal or one more moving.

Edith Wairimu

Dad by Bob Seay is an honest, moving literary work about balancing personal and career issues while taking care of an aged parent. A former history teacher, Jacob Martin now works on dubious freelance writing projects. In addition, he is currently separated from his critical wife who, like him, harbors unspoken insecurities and struggles to make any meaningful career progress. His siblings have been taking care of his dad who suffers from dementia until one day Dad decides to drive from Cincinnati to Colorado to see his son. Jacob rushes to meet his father and plans to drive him back home as he can barely support himself let alone take care of his dad. The journey proves to be more meaningful than Jacob could have initially assumed it would be.

Dad is told through Jacob’s voice, which allowed me to understand him as a person and his relationships with the people in his life. His attitude towards his father is kind and understanding, despite his own personal woes. The conversations in the book are meaningful and impactful. As Jacob explains his current life situation, the input of another person helps him put things into perspective. I loved that some humor is incorporated into the work. Jacob’s outlook on life and the specific themes he addresses are straightforward and funny. Other characters like his brother Sam, his wife, and his sister, also fit well in the story. Dad by Bob Seay covers an important and current scenario of siblings taking care of an aged parent suffering from dementia. Overall, it’s a powerful story of love and finding oneself.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Bob Seay breathes life into his characters in Dad to the point where you feel as if you are there as they go through the later stages of Alzheimer's. Jacob Martin gets a call in the early morning hours to retrieve his father, John, who has taken a road trip to visit him. Unfortunately, John got confused on the exit ramps in Kansas and spent about ten hours going in circles. Now Jacob needs to pick him up from the hotel the police put him up in and take him back to Cincinnati. The trip Jacob takes with John for the next month forces Jacob to face his failing marriage, his undesirable living arrangements, and connect with his dad before the disease takes a strong hold on his mind. Is Jacob ready to confront the fact he can’t fix everything and move on with changes in his life?

Through an intricate weaving of character, relationship drama, and the trials facing an Alzheimer’s family member, Bob Seay constructs an engaging story. This novel handles the delicate problems people face when their loved ones are forgetful, wander off without realizing they are lost, and deciding what if best for them, with love and humor. I love how the family is supportive and patient with their father. Seay’s skillful writing keeps readers intrigued and mesmerized as we move closer towards the conclusion for Jacob and John’s life. Most people are touched by someone with some form of dementia and will find this book a sweet reminder of their loved ones, yet a bitter knowledge of how this disease advances.