The Dad Who Stayed - David Rodeback

The Dad Who Stayed and other stories

Are you wondering what kind of book this is? First there’s a novella about childhood in the 1970s, then twelve short stories of varying length, touching themes of friendship, family, romance, memory, and loss.

Let’s Have Some Q&A

Q. The front cover mentions romance. Is there kissing in this book?

A. Kissing is mentioned in a few stories, and a young boy dreams of kissing, but there is very little actual kissing on the page. Romantic kissing, I mean. I assume things like a mom kissing her little boy on the forehead don’t count for this question.

Q. Very little kissing? How is that even possible? You did say romance.

Some of my main characters are pretty young. Some stories focus on romantic relationships that are barely beginning or still potential. And a lot of the fun can be just getting two people to meet and start figuring out how to talk to each other. In other cases the love interest (to borrow a common but unromantic phrase) is far away or simply gone. And some of these stories are about different kinds of relationships, such as parent-child and sibling relationships.

Q. Is there violence or bad language?

A. There is no significant violence, though in one story a character briefly thinks there has been. Coarse language doesn’t go past a scattered “hell” or “damn,” and it only goes that far a few times. Some themes will appeal more to adult readers, but these stories should be fairly safe for readers from adolescence to dotage.

Here’s the Really Fun Part

Q. If there’s no kissing, very little bad language, and no significant violence, what is there? Why would I want to read this book?

A. I’ll tell you what there is.

A single mom. Prairie dogs. Mistaken identity. A teacher’s pet. A boy poet. Best friends. Really big cinnamon rolls. Pink dresses. Bullying. More mistaken identity. A penthouse. Artificial intelligence named Alexandra (but it’s not sci fi).

A pink tux. Pregnancy. Gravity. A flying squirrel. A chicken. People from church. A grisly scene that actually isn’t. Squares and hippies. An online dating fail that succeeds, arguably with the help of succulent grilled salmon and an exquisite salad, with sorbet for dessert.

Valentine’s Day. Bus rides. A class reunion. Birth. Death. Fire. Smoke. Remorse. School dances. Miscarriage. A dad with a gun. Two people who met before and might meet again. And speaking of meat, twenty-somethings who think their church congregation is a meat market, and so’s the local gym.

A mythic swimsuit. A dozen roses. Sleepless nights. A gorgeous roommate. Homegrown walnuts. Running away. A lawyer. A letter. A honeymoon. A pretty flute player. Two occurrences of the word callipygian. A three-legged race with romantic implications. The star quarterback. Dress shopping.

Nerds. Geeks. Lipstick called “Naughty.” Breakups. Forest fires. Thunderstorms. Yearbook Day. Sunday School. S’mores. Plane rides. Wines local to the Puget Sound. Fond memories. Goodbyes. Things best forgotten, including but not limited to poorly-aimed, tragically-timed vomit. Oh, and Fried Chicken Friday.

Q. Seriously? Is that all?

A. Seriously? No, there’s more. But don’t expect werewolves, vampires, wizards, castles, or actual princesses. Or space battles or time travel (which is not the same as nostalgia). Not that there’s anything wrong with those. You’d just need a different book. You could read that one too.

Where to Buy

The 60 East Press home page lists stores and online retailers who carry The Dad Who Stayed.