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The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me

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Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would r Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads." "I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?" The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America. This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.


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Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would r Bestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters' lives would be like without him. "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters' lives. And he would call this group "The Council of Dads." "I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives," he wrote to these men. "They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?" The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters--how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America. This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.

30 review for The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Won this as a First Reads giveaway. I really liked the idea of it: man gets cancer in his femur and realizes he may not be there for his 3-year-old twins in the future, so he calls upon six friends to create a Council of Dads. These friends represent the different parts of his self, so that they can be his voice should it be needed. The book started off really well--giving background story about a leg injury when he was 5 years old, how he and his wife met, the twins' birth, his diagnosis. Feile Won this as a First Reads giveaway. I really liked the idea of it: man gets cancer in his femur and realizes he may not be there for his 3-year-old twins in the future, so he calls upon six friends to create a Council of Dads. These friends represent the different parts of his self, so that they can be his voice should it be needed. The book started off really well--giving background story about a leg injury when he was 5 years old, how he and his wife met, the twins' birth, his diagnosis. Feiler even explores family history, e.g. listening to the audio tapes his grandfather recorded in the 12 years leading up to his suicide in 1983--tapes which the author had heretofore avoided. He even adds periodic letters to his family and friends over the year of his treatment chronicling his experience and the effect on him and his family. Up until about one-third-way to one-half-way point, it was all very interesting, and the author's honesty and humor were endearing.Even when he began introducing his Council, I enjoyed it. But a couple of things bothered me. First, because of the way he interweaves story about what was currently going on in terms of his treatment, history, letters to his family and friends, and introducing his Council, we don't meet the last guy until he's already all the way through his treatment and been given the "all clear." That timing was off-putting for me. Second, by the middle of the book, the writing style started to feel a little too Mitch Albom for me: kind of sappy and offering cliche life lessons. There was also a feeling of unreality to the book in that Feiler was not your average Joe who got cancer, and his friends were not average either (one has "multiple Emmys," one offered "commentary alongside Bob Costas at the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics," all but one has traveled the world extensively, etc.). Let me be clear: I am in no way trying to minimize what the author went through; it was horrific. However, when I got the book I was hoping to read about how someone like me would struggle with such a diagnosis. Not that there is not struggle in this book; there is very clearly physical struggle through chemotherapy and surgery, then more chemo and physical therapy, there is struggle with fears and struggle with trying to protect a family from the chaos that surrounds potentially terminal illness. But, there were many ways in which Feiler did not have to struggle. He was very well connected and was able to see the best doctor in the country for his cancer. Money was not an issue for him and his family; he was able to devote his time and energy to fighting his disease for a year without having to worry about losing the house. I would have rather read the story of some ordinary guy who never wrote a book before (or at least someone who doesn't have his own Wikipedia page), who doesn't have an extensive and well-connected support system, for whom money is an issue, and who isn't always able to keep his sense of humor, i.e. someone I could relate to more, someone more real.All in all, this is a good book. I liked it, but it was not amazing to me. I recognize that most of my criticisms of it tell about me as much as about the book, so I recommend you read it and make your own decision. You may find it inspiring.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    "Take a walk for me." I cried at page 32. But the good kind of tears, where you remember the awe-inspiring moments of delivering your child and knowing you have a loving partner who has your back, for life. Though I’ve never met Bruce Feiler and his wife Linda, I wish that I could be a part of their lives. Bruce Feiler, the man who wrote “Walking the Bible,” is suddenly told he has a seven-inch tumor in his left femur. He will die. He panics about leaving his twin girls fatherless and so, with hi "Take a walk for me." I cried at page 32. But the good kind of tears, where you remember the awe-inspiring moments of delivering your child and knowing you have a loving partner who has your back, for life. Though I’ve never met Bruce Feiler and his wife Linda, I wish that I could be a part of their lives. Bruce Feiler, the man who wrote “Walking the Bible,” is suddenly told he has a seven-inch tumor in his left femur. He will die. He panics about leaving his twin girls fatherless and so, with his wife, decides to create a “Council of Dads” to mentor his daughters and also serve as a testament (and memorial) to his life after he dies. As readers, we meet each member of the Council of Dads and Bruce reviews their shared history and also asks what each member can provide to his girls. Male friendship is so different from female friendship (and we recognize that Bruce is so lucky to have these men in his life) and their shared memories offer much-welcomed comic relief to a sad, but also uplifting true story. The true tragedy is that a man who made his living walking is now unable to do so. Interspersed with the intros are (I’m assuming) actual e-mails that Bruce sent out, chronicling his diagnosis, treatment and progress. The e-mails are the best parts of the book - so full of raw honesty, joy in his silly daughters, aching with love for his wife, and always ending with, "Take a walk for me." I predict that this book will become a popular book club selection over the next three years, as both women and men analyze their past and current friendships and ask themselves, "What will my friend say my life meant?" Read this book. You don't want to miss it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Card

    This is how much a daddy is supposed to love his kids. Makes me wish I had been blessed more in that regard as there were so many times I could’ve used a man’s input and guidance in my life. Truly beautiful the lessons this book teaches.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Martha Deanda

    It was AMAZING! One of the best books I have ever read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Beautiful and emotional read. I highly recommend it especially if you are a parent, expecting parent, or thinking about it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Wolaver

    Didn’t quite get it until the letter to his daughters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I won this on GR'S give-a-ways, and I can honestly say, I would have read this..regardless if I won or purchased it. I must start with saying Bruce Feiler is a brave and courageous man. To endure what he went through, while raising a family, to me is noble in itself. Bruce, gives detail of his experience with caner, he treatments, doctors and procedures. He also describes how he felt, what he suffered during and after chemo, and how it affected his friends and family. It also shows how friends an I won this on GR'S give-a-ways, and I can honestly say, I would have read this..regardless if I won or purchased it. I must start with saying Bruce Feiler is a brave and courageous man. To endure what he went through, while raising a family, to me is noble in itself. Bruce, gives detail of his experience with caner, he treatments, doctors and procedures. He also describes how he felt, what he suffered during and after chemo, and how it affected his friends and family. It also shows how friends and family do pull together in tough (emotional) times. The idea of creating a "Council of Dads" is truly unique and heartfelt. Each "dad" has a special quality and life experience that Bruce wishes to carry on to his daughters, in the event of his passing. Each "Dad" has a special bind with Bruce, and he digs deep in explanation why he wants this "father figure" to carry out his (Bruce) voice. Well written and often emotional, The Council of Dad's left me enjoying each day as if it were my last. Having watched my mother survive Lymphoma, I can relate to the emotions and hard times Bruce has experienced. Praise to Bruce Feiler on a fantastic read, and fighting the battle against cancer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth Warren

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I got this book and enjoyed it, I had seen the story on Oprah or some news program and thought it sounded interesting though very sad. The father was sick with a rare form of cancer, and in the event he died, he wanted to have 6 men who could, together, represent different aspects of his character or personality and advise his daughters. I thought it was well written and very touching, I especially enjoyed the letters he wrote updating his council of dads throughout the year during his treatment I got this book and enjoyed it, I had seen the story on Oprah or some news program and thought it sounded interesting though very sad. The father was sick with a rare form of cancer, and in the event he died, he wanted to have 6 men who could, together, represent different aspects of his character or personality and advise his daughters. I thought it was well written and very touching, I especially enjoyed the letters he wrote updating his council of dads throughout the year during his treatment. However, the book seemed to skip around, going from one memory to another, how one dad was chosen to the next, and I found it a little disjointed. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had skipped around less. Overall I would recommend it to people who are looking for an interesting book and a great idea, whether the parent is sick or healthy, it's always a great idea to have other adults in your kids lives...particularly for those kids whose parents may be out of town a lot, such as children whose parents are in the military.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Bruce Feiler learns he has cancer and he and his publisher come up with an idea for a book. He is worried about the lack of a father figure in his daughter's lives, if he dies. He reaches out to six men who know him best to ask them to step in for him in some way. He goes back and forth between describing his friendship with these men and relating the events of the ensuing year, his struggle with the disease and the effects on his family. This book is stirring heart-warming, inspiring, moving, et Bruce Feiler learns he has cancer and he and his publisher come up with an idea for a book. He is worried about the lack of a father figure in his daughter's lives, if he dies. He reaches out to six men who know him best to ask them to step in for him in some way. He goes back and forth between describing his friendship with these men and relating the events of the ensuing year, his struggle with the disease and the effects on his family. This book is stirring heart-warming, inspiring, moving, etc. I can see this book as being helpful and meaningful to some people, but I am old, I've read too many of these Wednesday with Morrie type things about wise, perfect people and their courageous struggles and their supportive, perfect friends and family. There are too many other books out there that I'd rather read. I like them more real and/or down and dirty, and imaginative, I guess. I'm a bad person, I will probably not be given any more First-Reads to review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A 5-star book and story about a father with a potentially life-threatening illness who loves his twin daughters so much he invites six men who influenced his life for the better to help influence his daughters' lives should he not survive long enough to raise them. It's so emotionally raw at times you can't help but cry. Bruce's wonderful sense of humor also provides some laugh-out-loud moments. Learning about the family histories of Bruce and his wife was fascinating. In the end I found myself A 5-star book and story about a father with a potentially life-threatening illness who loves his twin daughters so much he invites six men who influenced his life for the better to help influence his daughters' lives should he not survive long enough to raise them. It's so emotionally raw at times you can't help but cry. Bruce's wonderful sense of humor also provides some laugh-out-loud moments. Learning about the family histories of Bruce and his wife was fascinating. In the end I found myself admiring the courage, intelligence, humor, transparency, wisdom and beauty with which he walked and shared his journey of hellish medical treatment and procedures, family life during the process and choosing the great guys he calls The Council of Dads. Made me wish he was MY dad. Tybee and Eden are two of the most blessed little girls one earth. I enourage others to read this book and I definitely plan to take more walks.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I was so grateful to win a copy of this book thru Good Reads First Look. I liked it a lot and it reminded me of combining Randy Pausch and Mitch Albom style of writing with humor, great lines, awesome quotes, and deeply spiritual and moving. The author, Bruce Feiler talks about his childhood and an unfortunate accident that happened when he was a kid. Fast forward years later and he learns that he has cancer. As he worries about his twin girls he and his wife decide on the council of Dads, 6 men I was so grateful to win a copy of this book thru Good Reads First Look. I liked it a lot and it reminded me of combining Randy Pausch and Mitch Albom style of writing with humor, great lines, awesome quotes, and deeply spiritual and moving. The author, Bruce Feiler talks about his childhood and an unfortunate accident that happened when he was a kid. Fast forward years later and he learns that he has cancer. As he worries about his twin girls he and his wife decide on the council of Dads, 6 men that Bruce picks to represent him in the event of his death. Each man comes from a different time in Bruce’s life, not family but ones who mean the most to him. I really loved this idea and it really does make you think about your own mortality as you are reading this. He literally goes thru hell and back with his chemotherapy treatments and pain from the surgeries. Bruce is an inspiration and I urge everyone to pick up a copy of this great book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I love it when really difficult emotions are put so beautifully to words. This book has such a courageous and smart premise. There were lots of quotes I would love to underline and remember (alas, a library book has it's limitations.) One of my favorites, about the power of words, goes like this: "...I was reminded of one of my favorite messages from the Bible, from the opening of Genesis. Before there is order, there is chaos. Before there is light, there is darkness. And what is the only force I love it when really difficult emotions are put so beautifully to words. This book has such a courageous and smart premise. There were lots of quotes I would love to underline and remember (alas, a library book has it's limitations.) One of my favorites, about the power of words, goes like this: "...I was reminded of one of my favorite messages from the Bible, from the opening of Genesis. Before there is order, there is chaos. Before there is light, there is darkness. And what is the only force strong enough to overcome that disorder? What does God use to create the world? HE USES WORDS." I highly recommend this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dawnie

    I got stuck mid-way through this. I thought it was kind of dull and wasn't what I was really expecting. I'm sure I'll pick it back up at some point, but for now, its going into the book closet.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Fieggen

    Save me from another whiny, angst-ridden New Yorker.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a remarkable account of how a man transforms his cancer diagnosis into a lesson in how to live each moment and how to keep his voice alive for his daughters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Depressing, boring, poorly written, unemotional and ultimately uninspiring. I honestly don't see why anyone would enjoy reading this book. It's written by an author who is filled with despair when he gets the diagnosis of leg cancer, then he immediately decides (before anything is done to his body or he has any idea of his life expectancy) to put together six men who will care for his daughters when he's gone. What sounds inspirational is not--the book is a dull slog through bare-boned biographi Depressing, boring, poorly written, unemotional and ultimately uninspiring. I honestly don't see why anyone would enjoy reading this book. It's written by an author who is filled with despair when he gets the diagnosis of leg cancer, then he immediately decides (before anything is done to his body or he has any idea of his life expectancy) to put together six men who will care for his daughters when he's gone. What sounds inspirational is not--the book is a dull slog through bare-boned biographies of the six men, none of whom seem that big a deal. About 40% of the book is his stilted emails sent to friends during his cancer treatment. None of it makes for a good story that anyone outside those who know him would want to read. I should say that I am personally experienced with osteosarcoma and went through a similar process as Feiler. Mine reaction to the cancer was totally different. I worked hard to be positive and upbeat through the struggles for family and friends. I had family help in recovery but didn't send out long depressing emails to friends begging for their support the way Feiler does. I not only beat the odds but I worked hard to prove doctors wrong in my recovery. Feiler seems to have given up from the start and becomes totally dependent upon others instead of seeing it as a chance to prove doctors wrong. He praises his overworked wife for her help but provides no emotional insight into the toll it must have taken on her. He seems unrealistic about the impact his health issues will have on his three-year-old twins. At their age they aren't going to remember any of it but he seems convinced that every small decision he makes will cause long-term impact. The book and his writing style are very annoying. He comes across as a New York Jewish liberal elitist who assumes everyone is fascinated with the tiniest details about his dull life and treatment. Since I haven't read his other books, I'm unsure if this is his standard writing style regarding his "walks" (which I guess are his thing) but this book would only appeal to the people who think he's fascinating, because based on what's written here he's a self-centered bore. The author calls the cancer battle a "war" and that it is. My heart does go out to him for what he went through--especially the incredible amount of chemo and the 31-inch leg scar. And I greatly admire his heart for his daughters. But he seems to ignore one big aspect of life in his fight and in his Council: spirituality. He has a Jewish background but says nothing about whether he has a personal faith in God or how that impacted his dealing with the illness. As he faced death he appeared to put his trust in anyone he had ever had contact with instead of working with God or making spirituality even part of the solution. I'm glad I read this after I had my osteosarcoma issues--to have read it beforehand would have freaked me out because he was in so much despair. Because he has continued to live a decade after the publication of the book it takes some of the punch away from the book's theme ("a letter to his girls from a dying dad"). It tries to come close to the feel of The Last Lecture--only that author died despite being one of the most upbeat cancer patients on the planet. That guy at least knew how to inspire since he was a professor; Feiler is a professional writer and here lacks the ability to connect with people about his disease in a meaningful way. How this became a TV series I can't conceive because in the end the idea of the Council of Dads isn't even a good one. Six men helping to raise twin girls who still have their mother and other relatives? He could have done it with a couple of guys but six is overkill. And the fact that he ruled out family members on the Council biases the process. What many learn after going through potentially deadly cancer and horrible chemo is that family is all that's important, and no matter how you feel you have to use whatever God-inspired energy you have within you to fight this inner war yourself.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Koerner

    Having seen Bruce Feiler recently speak in Northbrook, Illinois, I feel as if this book is an old friend. I knew much of the story, already. This elaborated on what I already knew. It is the story of a talented, courageous man who is forced to face his monsters as cancer attacks. Having two, three year old daughters adds to this as he realized that he might not be there for them. He finds men in his life to take part on a ‘Council of Dads’ and be there for them in case he doesn’t win his fight. Having seen Bruce Feiler recently speak in Northbrook, Illinois, I feel as if this book is an old friend. I knew much of the story, already. This elaborated on what I already knew. It is the story of a talented, courageous man who is forced to face his monsters as cancer attacks. Having two, three year old daughters adds to this as he realized that he might not be there for them. He finds men in his life to take part on a ‘Council of Dads’ and be there for them in case he doesn’t win his fight. He chooses men who are not blood, men who each stand for some special part of his persona, so that they can relate that to the girls, should need be. It is a story of the importance of emotion and how men need to learn how to deal with it. It is about the importance of storytelling and how it is the glue of our lives. It tells of the need for networking, whether we are dying or not. It also talks about walking and what it represents and how we all need to slow down and realize what we have and how we must observe and appreciate it. This is a very good read by a fascinating man and author.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    It's hard to judge a book like this so harshly. Oh, you had bone cancer and have to leave your twin daughters at 3 years old? Meh. It's not the story that didn't work. I just didn't connect with the messages of the book. It's great stories and uplifting life lessons, like really. But it's largely a story of death without hope in any future. Almost a desperation for a future with his daughters. Again, it's hard to be critical, the whole book is focused on the life you choose to live and enjoying It's hard to judge a book like this so harshly. Oh, you had bone cancer and have to leave your twin daughters at 3 years old? Meh. It's not the story that didn't work. I just didn't connect with the messages of the book. It's great stories and uplifting life lessons, like really. But it's largely a story of death without hope in any future. Almost a desperation for a future with his daughters. Again, it's hard to be critical, the whole book is focused on the life you choose to live and enjoying it while you have it. But, that's all there is. It is very much like the Pixar movie, Coco, except there is no great beyond where spirits stay around until they are forgotten in this life. Instead, people are are only around in this life for as long as they are remembered and that's it. So, it's sad for me to listen to because there is so much joy and hope that comes from seeing death as a comma and not a period (as Neil A. Maxwell once said). A great book for those that need to live their life more fully, but a sad book for those that experience a full life, with all its shortcomings and injustice put into context, in Christ.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tami Brown

    In all honesty I read this book on a whim not even knowing what it was about .I did not even read the synopsis. So basically it was a blind date with a book. Let me tell you this was overall one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. It made me cry, it made me laugh and it most importantly made me feel like I knew these people on a deep and personal level one that I was ever so grateful for. This book is one that I will recommend to all I know in hopes that they will enjoy and pass alo In all honesty I read this book on a whim not even knowing what it was about .I did not even read the synopsis. So basically it was a blind date with a book. Let me tell you this was overall one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. It made me cry, it made me laugh and it most importantly made me feel like I knew these people on a deep and personal level one that I was ever so grateful for. This book is one that I will recommend to all I know in hopes that they will enjoy and pass along to others especially to those with children and cancer survivors. “The second half of that wish—“May your last word be love”—is up to you. And if I’ve learned anything from my illness, it’s that we never know when our last word may come. So I beg of you: Be awash in love every day Excerpt from: "The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me" by Bruce Feiler. Scribd. This material may be protected by copyright. Read this book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/163630083

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    I really liked the premise of this book - creating a group of dads to help raise Feiler's daughters should his cancer become incurable. It caused me to reflect whom I would choose if facing such a terrifying, uncertain dilemma. I appreciated how Feiler steered away from family when making his decisions, and instead, focused on men from differing phases of his life that combined, would be able to describe all aspects of Feiler's personality. Feiler's worry, concern, pain and self-pity are felt th I really liked the premise of this book - creating a group of dads to help raise Feiler's daughters should his cancer become incurable. It caused me to reflect whom I would choose if facing such a terrifying, uncertain dilemma. I appreciated how Feiler steered away from family when making his decisions, and instead, focused on men from differing phases of his life that combined, would be able to describe all aspects of Feiler's personality. Feiler's worry, concern, pain and self-pity are felt throughout the book, all overwhelming for anyone to experience. Around the middle, the narrative became a bit befuddled; details lacking and sudden transitions between past and present, to list a couple. Overall, reading this did allow me to appreciate good health. I liked how Feiler ended each of his letters with "and take a walk for me".

  21. 5 out of 5

    William Rood

    Being a father of three girls and reading this on New Years day probably skewed my rating, but I was thrilled with this book. The idea was inspiring - namely to form a group of past friends that could speak to some element of the authors life, and help guide, shape, and direct the authors daughters lives in the advent of the authors not beating his newly diagnosed cancer. While it was the briefest of glimpses into each of the "dads" lives and interactions with the author, it was enough to paint i Being a father of three girls and reading this on New Years day probably skewed my rating, but I was thrilled with this book. The idea was inspiring - namely to form a group of past friends that could speak to some element of the authors life, and help guide, shape, and direct the authors daughters lives in the advent of the authors not beating his newly diagnosed cancer. While it was the briefest of glimpses into each of the "dads" lives and interactions with the author, it was enough to paint in broad strokes the ideals and morals that shaped the author's life, and how best he hoped to do the same with his daughters. I of course rolled tears at the last letter to his daughters. It was sweet, cliche, and sappy, but it was everything I needed to start the year off with a renewed appreciation for what I have, and just how precious every minute really is in this life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Fabulous listen--made me cry many times--but also poetic and thoughtful. Enjoyed his perception of his twin girls and what he wanted for them as their father and for his voice to continue to be present, even if he was not. Facsinating that he did research and read the journals/listened to the tapes of his grandfather and wove it all into a story, men's stories of their lives...will definately pick up his earlier books and google him to find out what he looks like as well as what has happened sin Fabulous listen--made me cry many times--but also poetic and thoughtful. Enjoyed his perception of his twin girls and what he wanted for them as their father and for his voice to continue to be present, even if he was not. Facsinating that he did research and read the journals/listened to the tapes of his grandfather and wove it all into a story, men's stories of their lives...will definately pick up his earlier books and google him to find out what he looks like as well as what has happened since--think we're within a few years of one another and his girls I think were born in 2005...so just a year ahead of our boys. Would most decidedly recommend for any parents/travelers/philosophers/cancer survivors--heck think anyone could get something out of this self-reflective book/ and gift to his daughters and us--the reader.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Neas

    “When you lose someone, the loss becomes the dominant memory. You have to build a rival memory. Take the negative pain and create a positive side to it.” Bruce’s fear of leaving his family behind, especially his daughters, is so heartfelt and genuine. His idea to create a “Council of Dads” is so unique and something I have never heard of. He wants to be remembered and leave his daughters with people they can go to for questions about him. The letters are the best part of the book - they are full “When you lose someone, the loss becomes the dominant memory. You have to build a rival memory. Take the negative pain and create a positive side to it.” Bruce’s fear of leaving his family behind, especially his daughters, is so heartfelt and genuine. His idea to create a “Council of Dads” is so unique and something I have never heard of. He wants to be remembered and leave his daughters with people they can go to for questions about him. The letters are the best part of the book - they are full of raw honesty, and I loved how they always end with some variation of “Take a walk for me” I’m excited for the TV show. I watched the pilot before reading the book and it already seems very different, but the TV show seems to capture the Council and what Bruce’s intentions were when creating it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kina

    I was inspired by the authors effort he put into thinking about the legacy he was leaving behind for his daughters. There were lots of hard moments that were accompanied by power thoughts and realizations but also just the day to day toughness of fighting cancer and how it affected his family. I enjoyed the humour and stories from his life and especially enjoyed the “council of dads” chapters where he visits people that have inspired him throughout his life. I could def read this book again. I p I was inspired by the authors effort he put into thinking about the legacy he was leaving behind for his daughters. There were lots of hard moments that were accompanied by power thoughts and realizations but also just the day to day toughness of fighting cancer and how it affected his family. I enjoyed the humour and stories from his life and especially enjoyed the “council of dads” chapters where he visits people that have inspired him throughout his life. I could def read this book again. I pondered so many things because of it. The overall tone was happy or #blessed. I would def recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    2.5 rounded up. I enjoyed getting to know Feiler, but don't feel like we really got to know the other dads. I imagine it's not the easiest subject to write about, but all these men he was choosing to represent him if he passed were described in ways that made them sound very similiar, and I felt that the organization of the chapters was lacking. While I found the structure of the book lacking and often had a hard time being engaged in the reading, I want to say that I loved the idea, and that Fei 2.5 rounded up. I enjoyed getting to know Feiler, but don't feel like we really got to know the other dads. I imagine it's not the easiest subject to write about, but all these men he was choosing to represent him if he passed were described in ways that made them sound very similiar, and I felt that the organization of the chapters was lacking. While I found the structure of the book lacking and often had a hard time being engaged in the reading, I want to say that I loved the idea, and that Feiler's love for his daughter's was very clear throughout the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noemi Rodriguez

    This was stunning. I loved the idea of having a "council of dads" in which Bruce's daughters can go to. There were a few things I didn't agree with, but aside from that, I loved this book. I loved the structure of it. We would get a regular chapter, a letter, and be introduced to a new "dad." Each guy had a new thing to teach. And that is beautiful. I also love how Bruce paralleled some lessons with stories from the Bible. As a Christian, I loved that. Overall, great read. Wonderful quite and won This was stunning. I loved the idea of having a "council of dads" in which Bruce's daughters can go to. There were a few things I didn't agree with, but aside from that, I loved this book. I loved the structure of it. We would get a regular chapter, a letter, and be introduced to a new "dad." Each guy had a new thing to teach. And that is beautiful. I also love how Bruce paralleled some lessons with stories from the Bible. As a Christian, I loved that. Overall, great read. Wonderful quite and wonderful story. Oh, and I love the "take a walk for me" parts - especially the ending.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    The Council of Dads recounts the thoughts and feelings and (to a lesser extent) experiences of Bruce Feiler as he goes through treatment for a particular virulent form of cancer. But the unique and enticing aspect of this memoir is his notion of the council of dads. Knowing that he might not be around to see his twin daughters, Eden and Tybee, grow up, he conceived of the idea of creating a council of the men who were uniquely qualified to teach his daughter the most important parts of himself…w The Council of Dads recounts the thoughts and feelings and (to a lesser extent) experiences of Bruce Feiler as he goes through treatment for a particular virulent form of cancer. But the unique and enticing aspect of this memoir is his notion of the council of dads. Knowing that he might not be around to see his twin daughters, Eden and Tybee, grow up, he conceived of the idea of creating a council of the men who were uniquely qualified to teach his daughter the most important parts of himself…what he might not be able to teach them. I would like to have read his book many years ago…he writes with clarity and passion about the values and ideas he most wanted to pass long. He spoke with six of his closest friends, each of whom embodied a value or attribute he wanted them to share with, or teach to, his daughters. And in writing of his experiences, and his invitations to his friends, there is much to be learned. What follows are those insights that resonated most strongly with me. An excerpt from the letter he prepared as an in-person invitation to his council of dads: “I believe my daughters will have plenty of resources in their lives. They’ll have loving families. They’ll have welcoming homes. They’ll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. “Will you help be their dad? Will you listen in on them? Will you answer their questions? Will you take them out to lunch every now and then? Will you go to a soccer game if you’re in town? Will you watch their ballet moves for the umpteenth time? When they get older, will you indulge them in a new pair of shoes? Or buy them a new cell phone, or some other gadget I can’t even imagine right now? Will you give them advice? Will you be as tough as I would be? Will you help them out in a crisis? And as time passes, will you invite them to a family gathering on occasion? Will you introduce them to somebody who might help one of their dreams come true? Will you tell them what I would be thinking? Will you tell them how proud I would be? “Will you be my voice?” I think above anything else, this book has reinforced for me the truth that deep, abiding friendship is an indispensable part of life. Being more introverted than not, and something of a loner by preference, yet I have felt the lack of that kind of friendship in my life, and nothing pleases me more than to see others who enjoy it. He write of his grandfather who, when confronted with his own mortality, took his own life, a man who was insular and seemingly distant from those who loved him most. In learning more about his grandfather’s life, and pondering on his aloneness, he came to believe that what his grandfather wanted most was to be heard. As he says, “We’re listening, Papa. We hear you. You are not alone.” I think that is what many fathers want most, and too often do not feel that they have, the careful, loving, listening ear and heart of their loved ones. Quotes I liked: 1. On what he learned from his illness: “Cancer…is a passport to intimacy.” 2. At the end of each of his letters to friends and family: “Take a walk for me.” 3. On his father: “His goal was to provide the shoulders on which we would climb into the sky. He wanted nothing more than to be “between the commas” in some magazine, as in “Bruce Feiler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin J. Feiler, reached some milestone this week…The higher joy is not the light, it’s the reflection. The greater pleasure is not climbing up; it’s handing down. Between the commas.” 4. On negotiation and business dealings – three rules: “(1) Keep your cool – the other side will believe you are much more powerful than you really are; (2) Never threaten; (3) Give them a graceful out – Even though you may prevail, let them believe you didn’t get everything you wanted.” 5. On the mundanity of extraordinary experiences: “…cancer is not linear. Our lives rock along unaccountably – and unpredictably – among moments of hardship, stress, joy, pride, laughter, and exhaustion. There is profundity to explore, but also laundry to do. Someone asked me recently whether the “up days” of chemo, following the “down days,” suddenly seem beautiful and full of hope. Maybe, but I’m usually too busy unclogging the sink.” 6. From Mark Twain, after a visit to New York City: “Every man seems to feel that he has got the duties of two lifetimes to accomplish in one, and so he rushes, rushes, and never has time to be companionable – never has any time at his disposal to fool away on matters which do not involve dollars and duty and business.” 7. Feiler’s doctor, John Healy, on how cancer changes its survivors: “They understand themselves better. They are less distracted by the transient, unimportant things. Family becomes more central. Plus, they usually develop a constructive spirituality, one not based on dogma but real-life experience. And they are more sensitive to the suffering of others. They have an empathy that is part of the greatness of human beings.” Throughout the book, Feiler introduces us to the values and attributes his council of dads will bring to his daughters. In the end, he summarizes them as follows: Approach the cow Pack your flip-flops Don’t see the wall Tend your tadpoles Live the questions Harvest miracles I think I’ll leave it to you to read the book and find out what he meant.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Englebright

    Love this idea. The thought as a dad if I died, having a council of men to be there for my boys. To step in at times with their special gifts, and be and do what I wouldn’t be able to. While I think there are times in life that make us all sit back and ponder how quickly things can change in life or how quickly life can taken, the author’s diagnosis was never terminal. I felt like he wrote as if his diagnosis was. It made it feel a little overly dramatic, and even self aggrandizing. The tone of t Love this idea. The thought as a dad if I died, having a council of men to be there for my boys. To step in at times with their special gifts, and be and do what I wouldn’t be able to. While I think there are times in life that make us all sit back and ponder how quickly things can change in life or how quickly life can taken, the author’s diagnosis was never terminal. I felt like he wrote as if his diagnosis was. It made it feel a little overly dramatic, and even self aggrandizing. The tone of the book was that of a person and father giving their last words, and turning over their voice to other people to tell his life story. However again his prognosis was always very good by his doctors, and he was treated and lived. His last words now become what? Maybe words to live by?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chelsa

    A movingly inspiring memoir of a young dad’s bout with a rare cancer. I expected the book to go in a different direction and didn’t realize that it wasn’t fictional. The characters in the book, the writer, his wife, family and friends are just no relatable to me. The situation may have been different had the narrator not been so affluent. I would recommend to someone that needs encouragement through a difficult situation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin Snapp

    I’ll be honest, I only read this because I loved the show. The book is nothing like the show at all, so I’m trying not to see through a tainted lease. It is absolutely beautifully written. It’s a wonderful sentiment. And his daughters should cherish this for the rest of their lives. But I just felt like it needed a little more. Like bringing things full circle? I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I feel like it was missing.

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