My Father Before Me: A Memoir

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Synopsis

An award-winning poet’s “beautifully written” (The Seattle Times) portrait of an American family and his own coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s in the wake of his father’s suicide. This memoir “belongs on the special shelves we keep for the books we cannot quite forget” (George Hodgman).

The fifth of eight children, Chris Forhan was born into a family of secrets. He and his siblings learned, without being told, that certain thoughts and feelings were not to be shared. On the evenings his father didn’t come home, the rest of the family would eat dinner without him, his whereabouts unknown, his absence pronounced but unspoken. And on a cold night just before Christmas 1973, long after dinner, the rest of the family asleep, Forhan’s father killed himself in the carport.

Forty years later, Forhan “excavates both his lost father and a lost era in American history” (Bookpage). At the heart of this “fiercely honest” (Nick Flynn) investigation is Forhan’s father, a man whose crisp suits and gelled hair belied a darkness he could not control, a man whose striking dichotomy embodied the ethos of an era. Weaving together the lives of his ancestors, his parents, and his own coming of age in the 60s and 70s, Forhan paints an “achingly beautiful” (Buffalo News) portrait of a family “in the tradition of Geoffrey Wolff” (Booklist).

“Poignant…affecting…Forhan describes his family’s healing and acceptance with warmth, humor, and an admirable lack of bitterness” (Kirkus Reviews). A family history, an investigation into a death, and a stirring portrait of an Irish Catholic childhood, all set against a backdrop of America from the Great Depression to the Ramones, My Father Before Me is “an exquisite example of the power of honesty” (Jeannette Walls), “a wonderfully engrossing book…essential for all parents and children, that is, all people” (Library Journal, starred review).

Chapters

  • MyFatherBeforeMe 41 Ch39

    Duration: 09min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 42 Ch40

    Duration: 10min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 43 Ch41

    Duration: 11min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 44 Part4 Ch42

    Duration: 09min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 45 Ch43

    Duration: 04min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 46 Ch44

    Duration: 01min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 47 Ch45

    Duration: 07min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 48 Ch46

    Duration: 08min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 49 Ch47

    Duration: 08min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 50 Ch48

    Duration: 14min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 51 Ch49

    Duration: 03min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 52 Ch50

    Duration: 03min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 53 Ch51

    Duration: 18min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 54 Ch52

    Duration: 03min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 55 Ch53

    Duration: 13min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 56 Ch54

    Duration: 22min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 57 Ch55

    Duration: 12min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 58 Ch56

    Duration: 12min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 59 Ch57

    Duration: 14min
  • MyFatherBeforeMe 60 Ch58

    Duration: 02min
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