Women, we know, are quite literally transformed by the birth of a child, but men too are "profoundly touched by the parenting experience," the editors say in their foreword to this fine anthology, composed of essays, letters (one to an unborn child), poems and testimonials to the pleasures and occasional pains of fatherhood. With candor, force and sometimes passionate intensity, 70 fathers express and describe widely varying viewpoints and experiences.
We meet fathers-in-waiting (both those of a planned and an unplanned child), a reluctant pater in "Second Child, Second Doubts," fathers of handicapped children and a "Very Old Daddy" by National Public Radio's Gordon Baxter. Sportswriter George Vescey overcomes his initial objections to fatherhood, dismissed "as a lifelong sentence to boredom and fatigue" until his child's birth.
And, with changing ties, both teen-age fathers and stepfathers discuss the difficulties and pleasures of this complex relationship. A gay father and practicing psychiatrist avows equal love and concern toward his children, wife and lover--and both an infertile father, who has adopted a child, as well as one whose reversed vasectomy has met with success, contribute honest insights.