Five literary dads I can relate to

Happy World Book Day! It struck me that parents – and dads in particular – don’t often feature in the books I read to my kids. With that in mind, I challenged myself to think of a few literary dads to write about.

Most of those in books I’ve read have left a bit to be desired. Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff is a git. Adrian Mole’s old man is a slob and Matilda’s dad is ignorant.

Here, then, are five literary dads I can relate to in some way.

An illustration of Stick Man.

Stick Man

Okay, so there’s no resemblance, but he’s a father of three for starters. All he wants to do is get back to the family tree, but he’s thwarted at every turn by people who literally use him.

This is much like the situation I found myself in before quitting my old job to become my own boss. Writing and editing copy for a quango is rather similar to being deployed as a mast for a flag.

King Lear

He may be a fair bit older than me, but he also has three kids. In addition, he has a beard, gets a little bit annoyed with the weather and is gradually losing the plot.

If you ignore the facts that he’s royal, has a favourite child and is responsible for a level of carnage most soap operas would stop short of, we’re basically the same person.

An illustration of Fantastic Mr Fox.

Fantastic Mr Fox

I’ll say right now that I’ve never stolen chickens or caused acres of countryside to be dug up. I don’t consider myself fantastic or ‘a fox’ either, but we do have something in common.

Mr Fox wants to provide for his family and isn’t afraid to stick it to the proverbial man in order to do so.

The Gruffalo

Yes, he gets outwitted by a tiny rodent but, then again, I was once left flummoxed by the instructions on a pack of Oat So Simple, so I’m hardly one to criticise.

I’m hairy and, thanks to using Corsodyl for too long, once had a black tongue. The most important similarity though is that he’s protective of his kid. Who inevitably ignores him.

A scene from The Walking Dead comic.

Rick Grimes

I’ll end with a bit of a leftfield contribution courtesy of the source material for The Walking Dead. Graphic novels count as books, okay? Rick has faced all kinds of challenges and is still standing. If you think about it, we all encounter zombies every time we go shopping.

After becoming a dad for the first time, I found myself walking away from a hospital and along deserted streets, much like he does in issue one. Plus I’ve always had a habit of answering bullies back when it’s wiser to stay quiet. We’re practically twins!

Which literary dads – and, of course, literary mums – can you relate to?

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