It's a familiar story. Father leaves his wife and children and never looks back. Theresa Weir was five when her father left his family for a better life with a wealthy socialite. Many years passed with only occasional and grudging contact by Theresa's father. When Theresa married into a successful farm family, her father resurfaced, but she couldn't help but be suspicious of his awkward visits.
Years later, when the aging socialite dies and Theresa's father is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, people expect Theresa to move to Florida to care for him. A daughter's duty.
This is Theresa's personal story of a strained and painful father/daughter relationship.
What does a daughter owe the father who abandoned her?
From the editor:
THE MAN WHO LEFT could be considered a companion to the stunning memoir THE ORCHARD. But where THE ORCHARD is a dark fairy tale, THE MAN WHO LEFT is pure Middle American gothic, told in Theresa Weir's unadorned yet richly powerful and emotionally resonant style. A story about the burdens of remembering and the costs of forgetting, THE MAN WHO LEFT poignantly chronicles the emotional consequences of betrayal and abandonment by those who are supposed to love us the most.
From the book:
I doubt I’ll ever forgive him. It’s not in me to forgive him, but my own sense of humanity won’t let me ignore him and his plight. This would be easier if he were a stranger. Or, if I loved him. If he were a stranger, I could help him without having to listen to stories that pierce my heart, stories of a fabulous life that didn’t include his children. If I loved him, I would swoop him up and carry him off to live with me.
Through the wall, I hear him shift in his bed, and I hear the jingle of a dog collar, and I imagine the two Dalmatians curled beside him in the king-sized bed. The walls are pale blue, covered in framed Irene Spencer prints; soft images of mothers cuddling babies. Long white dressers with gold trim are strewn with Eve’s ornate perfume bottles and tiered glass shelves of jewelry. A floral spread covers my father in oblivion, his shape undefined and fragile. He doesn’t know it, but he is the man who broke us.
PRAISE FOR THE ORCHARD
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