If you thought Lost was full of daddy issues, just wait until you hear these stories from all sides of the pond. Father and son relationships can be wonderful, and they can be challenging. Their complexity is not lost on these writers and filmmakers.
Reunification is a universal story about family, migration, and generations. Alvin Tsang’s quest to put together the mystery of his childhood—why his parents split, why they moved to America—more than a decade later strikes a chord in everyone. After his mother and sister moved from China to the U.S., Tsang, as a little boy, was left with his father, causing a rift between his parents. Much later, Tsang and his father followed to America, but the tear was too big to sew back together, even by the extra strong dental floss Tsang’s father used to stitch up everything else. Whether you are also a first generation American, have family members who don’t like to talk about the past, or have divorced parents, you’ll find a piece of yourself in Tsang’s journey. The somewhat experimental style of the film, which seeks not only to solve the mysteries of the past but to also splice back together his parents—even if just on screen—makes it all the more touching. Everyone uses the tools that they have to try to make sense of their lives, but it is rare that other people have the opportunity to get such an intimate look at that pursuit. You can buy a signed DVD from the Reunification website.
American Timebomb (book)
American Timebomb by Joshua Melville is part history, part memoir. It’s the story of Sam Melville, what Bryan Burrough called, “the essential blueprint for almost every radical organization throughout the 1970s,” but this story is told from Sam’s son’s perspective. After organizing bombings to protest war (by design, no one was killed), the FBI was put on a manhunt to capture the “Mad Bomber.” Melville was arrested and sent to Attica State Penitentiary, where he was killed during the Attica State Prison uprising of 1971. Through extensive research, this book delivers an untold piece of American history, as well as an emotionally gripping father/son story of family and betrayal. You can pre-order the book through Indiegogo.
You Are a Complete Disappointment (book)
On his deathbed, Mike Edison’s father told his son, “You are a complete disappointment.” Mike Edison’s self-therapy-as-memoir You Are a Complete Disappointment seeks to make sense of a lifetime of parental bullying. Yet the heartbreaking reality of Edison’s father/son relationship is countered by solace and laughter. You will enjoy the stories of a little boy’s discovery of atomic fireballs (hence the cover) and the epic tale of the meatball pizza. At the same time, Edison’s introspection will prepare you for getting over and moving on. Buy it on Powells, and you’ll help fund Anglonerd.com with no extra cost to you.
I Hate the Dallas Cowboys (book)
With a memory as good as Ray Bradbury’s Thomas Pryor doesn’t only remember which vegetables he hid from the nuns as a schoolboy or the flavors of soda at the local shop 50 years ago. He also remembers what it was like to be a kid: a boy’s priorities, a boy’s interpretation of family dynamics, a boy’s evolving understanding at every new experience. Pryor’s memory is so clear and his storytelling so finely tuned that readers of his memoir I Hate the Dallas Cowboys are transported to a time and place most of them have never been, and there’s not a bump nor toll on this wacky yet poignant ride through old Yorkville. While there are certainly heartfelt moments in the book, most of the spirit is upbeat and often hilarious. Take the essay “Spotless Cleaners,” for example. I’ll just give you the tag line: “Dad’s pants vanish. All eyes are on me.” Sometimes, that sums up an entire relationship! Buy it from Powells, and you’ll help fund Anglonerd.com with no extra cost to you.
Fathers and Suns (TV episode)
In the Red Dwarf episode “Ouroboros,” we discover that through the quirk of time travel and a virgin birth, Lister actually is his own father. The sci-fi sitcom takes this idea to the extreme in the season 10 episode “Fathers and Suns,” when we learn that Lister has been making himself a drunken video message every year for Father’s Day. It’s the Father’s Day special that is not to be missed.