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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Fun Master: A Memoir by Jeff Seitzer is a real-life tale that tugs at the heartstrings. At the heart of this memoir is a father who demonstrates exceptional love for his child—and such love has become his compass in navigating the turbulent waters of life. His son Ethan was born with a condition known as tracheoesophageal fistula or TEF, in which Ethan’s esophagus ends in a pouch at the top of his throat. This condition has subjected young Ethan to a number of tests and surgeries. The author bears witness to how his son weathers the challenges of various medical procedures and discovers the importance of being in the present moment while contemplating profound philosophical questions about life.
Reading the memoir of a former academic turned stay-at-home father to put the needs of his son over his career is a bold and heartwarming story, as it pulls no punches in revealing Jeff Seitzer’s life. His relationship with his ailing young son reminds us how those that we hold dear become an extension and source of our grit to weather existential challenges. A memoir like The Fun Master isn’t so much about the anatomy of Ethan’s illness but how much strength we can draw from witnessing our loved ones face their own battles. Seitzer expresses that strength so well that it inspires a sense of renewal. This is a powerful story of one father’s journey; a journey that is filled with realities bravely faced and, for that, I highly recommend this memoir for its moving take on a real father-and-son story of devotion.