Book review: The Critic’s Daughter

I had the honor and privilege of being chosen by Book browse to read this advance copy of the critic’s daughter. I have never heard of Richard Gilman so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Well, let me tell you never judge a book by its cover. This book had me in tears and laughter. This book made the father the man human again. Priscilla Gilman Richard’s daughter writes about her dad as the critic, the father the man. So let me get into this story. Many know Richard as the critic for books, movies, and plays. But also as a teacher at Yale. But that was only part of Richard. Richard was a complex man with many issues. But his love for his children was an understatement. Richard was born into a Jewish family, but he would leave his Jewish faith and joined the Catholic church. Richard’s first marriage left him unsure about himself.
He found someone who loved him for his mind and sense of humor. His second wife wasn’t in love with him, she loved someone else who got another woman pregnant. Richard was blessed with two daughters in this marriage. Priscilla was the second born to Richard and Lynn. Then came Claire. Priscilla was the calmer and more comforting child whereas Claire was more difficult. Priscilla was the comforter in the family and it would come in handy when her parents separated and then eventually divorced. Priscilla didn’t understand the reason why her parents were separating, but her mother soon started to share some adult things with her child about her father.
I truly felt like as a parent Priscilla was way too young to understand adult things and I also felt like her mom did this in spite. She shared with her oldest daughter that her father had cheated and he enjoyed trying more adventurous sexual fantasies. Her mother was tired of trying to hold on to his unstable emotions and outburst. She didn’t want to be responsible for her father anymore. I feel like she told her all this for her to turn away from her father.
Priscilla’s mother never showed her children any affection or wanted to play or watch movies with them. She was so disconnected from her children and more involved in her work.
But once Lynn separated from Richard she slowly started showing her girls some affection. As the story goes on Richard struggles financially, emotionally, and with his work. Later in life get’s himself together to buy himself a home and have a stable place for when his girls came to visit. His work was once again going well and he found a new love. Richard once again marries and this time it’s true love, but it won’t last long because he is diagnosed with lung cancer, then brain. Priscilla struggles to comfort and hold the family together as she always has. When her father dies she was able to let go of all that she had been holding on to. To finally find out who she is and what she was meant to do.
I didn’t give this review justice. This book is beautifully written and had me in tears. I have never read a well-written story about a girl in love with her father. Despite all his flaws and his instability at times, her love for him never wavers. This book is truly a must-read.

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