Authors from a variety of backgrounds, most parents themselves, grapple with recurring themes when they write about their own fathers:
Trying to meet a father’s expectations.
Learning not to touch one’s father affectionately, replacing hugs and kisses with manly handshakes.
Competing with one’s father, especially in sports.
Trying to accomplish what one’s father couldn’t, either at his behest or with his resistance.
Realizing gradually the terrible price fathers pay to be “good providers.”
…if the writers in Keyes’s collection are any indication, even those fathers who are intimately involved in their children’s lives are facing their own struggle — trying to be there in a way their own fathers might not have been, trying to become the role models they might have missed.