About the Book
Marketing consultant Kevin Renner turned his crisis of confidence as a father into a personal crusade. Renner interviewed 50 women from around the world, to understand their life stories and how they were shaped by their fathers—good, bad, and in between. He wanted to understand fatherhood from the receiving end, as a daughter, so he could bring it home to his own daughters, then nine and thirteen.
That crusade became In Search of Fatherhood: A Mother Lode of Wisdom from the World of Daughterhood (Inkwater Press,May 2011).
At the time, Renner asked himself if he was giving his daughters what they needed, and if he even knew what that was. No, he admits, he didn’t. So after work and on weekends, he conducted interviews in a private therapist’s office he’d leased, women’s homes, and even hotel suites of women who traveled from around the country to share their stories.
“When I set out on this project, I wanted to do it for myself and for my daughters,” Renner said. “Very quickly I realized I wanted to have a lasting influence around the world on fathers, daughters, and their relationships.”
Some women had drawn what Renner calls “short straws” from the mix of fathers. One was his sixth-grade girlfriend, whom he met up with decades later. Stoked on a cocktail of drugs, chain-smoking, she had given up her own children when she hit rock-bottom after working as a stripper and attempting suicide three times.
But, when Renner interviewed Cheryl, whose world-famous scientist father took her to business dinners where he was feted, and where she was treated respectfully, he discovered why she had grown up with self-confidence around smart and accomplished men.
In Search of Fatherhood includes two-dozen other stories of women who drew the long straw, the short straw, and what the author calls “the long and the short of it.”
Some of the other stories he heard include:
- Rasa’s, whose father raised her from his wheelchair until he drank himself to death when she was 12.
- Wendy loved her single father so dearly she proposed to him at age five.
- Courtney’s father sexually abused her until age thirteen, when she turned his German Luger on him.
- Luna, a former drug addict, is a sex worker raising a daughter and attending college so she can free herself from the sex trade.
- Raised in poverty during the Dust Bowl, Betty became a state supreme court justice.
- Kim is transgender, and spent her childhood imprisoned in a boy’s body.
- Kara was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, and whose father was killed by a drunk driver a week before she turned four.
Renner says the insights he took from spending a year hearing women’s stories has made him a profoundly more insightful father. Among his biggest lessons, he says, were the importance of tough love, and how everything that he does as a father, and that every father does, communicates in subtle yet lasting ways. “Take your daughter to your workshop, your office, the bowling alley, the movies,” he says. “Little things make the big difference. They message that she’ll take away is that she matters—not just to you, but in the world at large.”
About Kevin Renner
Marketing executive Kevin Renner woke up on a Monday with one glaring realization: “This is the end of my life as a corporate guy.”
Renner shifted from a corporate life to founding B2B Market Strategies, a consulting firm. But, that literal wake-up call didn’t end with a career change. He realized that he didn’t know his daughters very well, and at ages nine and thirteen, they would be off to high school, to college, to their own lives within a few short years.
When Renner asked himself “What does a good father look like?” and no answer came to mind, he decided to find out. He interviewed 50 women from around the world for his book In Search of Fatherhood: A Mother Lode of Wisdom from the World of Daughterhood. His book is the first step toward his goal of having a lasting influence around the world on fathers, daughters, and their relationships.
A former journalist, Renner has his MBA from the University of California-Berkeley, and a B.A. in social sciences from UC Santa Cruz.
My Take on the Book
While this book is short, it has so much in it. As a father of daughters I was amazed at the author’s findings! As many of you know I have been doing my Dads in the Limelight Series for a year and a half and this series looks at fatherhood through the eyes of a father. What I loved about this book is that it looks at fatherhood from the eyes of a daughter. This book takes the idea of fatherhood to the next level and greatly illuminates what being a father means (or should mean) in today’s society. If you area father of girls this is a much read, but even if you are not and you are a father of a son, this book still is one that I would highly recommend!
All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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