Fathers and Daughters

Ben­jamin Markovits
  • Review
By – July 9, 2012
This book has four loose­ly con­nect­ed sto­ries about the pri­vate lives of teach­ers and stu­dents in an upscale high school north of Man­hat­tan. As not­ed in the title, the rela­tion­ships between fathers and daugh­ters are high­light­ed, as are the con­nec­tions between teach­ers and stu­dents. The dynam­ics in a vari­ety of types of fam­i­ly arrange­ments are explored in depth. In the first tale a teacher who has ide­al­ized her place in her fam­i­ly and idol­izes her father slow­ly realigns her atten­tions and love to a new man in her life. The sec­ond sto­ry con­cerns a gay man who dis­cov­ers he has an 18-year-old daugh­ter. Anoth­er tells of a daugh­ter of divorced par­ents who becomes more involved with her father as he is dying. She is also the object of affec­tion of her child­less mar­ried Eng­lish teacher. The sec­tions of the book are named by the sea­sons and you can feel and smell the changes and mood of the New York City streets and Cen­tral Park. There are beau­ti­ful, detailed descrip­tions of emo­tions, but sad­ness and lone­li­ness pre­vail through­out the book. Author Ben­jamin Markovits gives us bru­tal­ly hon­est insight into what his char­ac­ters are think­ing, which may con­tra­dict what they say or how they act. This voyeuris­tic view­point keeps up the reader’s inter­est. There is no Jew­ish theme in the book, but there are occa­sion­al Jew­ish references.
Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

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