Some Literary Fathers You Will Be Happy Aren’t Yours

There is bad and then there is restraining order bad. Each of the fathers on this list exemplifies bad parenting and makes you happy on the third Sunday of June that you’ll be hanging with your own dad.

Bastard Out of Carolina
by Dorothy Allison

At the heart of the story is Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, "cold as death, mean as a snake," becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney-and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.

The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy

The sweeping forty year story of the Wingo children of South Carolina: Tom, Savannah and Luke who, along with their mother - who is definitely no rose herself - suffer through years of abuse at the hands of their nasty drinking father and finally are able to throw off and grow through the pain of their childhood. One for the ages.

Case Histories
by Kate Atkinson

As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates three separate deaths, startling connections and discoveries emerge and he becomes Inextricably caught up in his clients grief, joy, and desire as everyone struggles to expose the truth. The evil of the unfeeling, nasty gorgon of a father to the Land girls seeps through the book.

The Kiss: A Memoir
by Kathryn Harrison

Still riveting 18 years after it was published, this story of the obsessive love affair between a long absent father and his twenty-year old daughter who has yearned for him most of her life is compelling, dream-like, and seductive but the whole time you are asking yourself what kind of man does this to his daughter?

This Boy’s Life
by Tobias Wolff

A beautifully written memoir that at times is hard to read because the story is so intense. A teen-aged Wolff hops from state to state with his mother to escape her violent boyfriend yet when she finally remarries it's to a brutal abusive man. Wolff finds himself in a bitter battle of wills with this bully of a stepfather that is riveting.

The Patrick Melrose Novels
by Edward St. Aubyn

Nevermind the first in a four-part series of novels chronicling Patrick's struggle to grow up sane in the depths of depraved English aristocracy unfolds over a day and an evening at the family’ chateaux in the south of France, where the sadistic and terrifying figure of David Melrose dominates and abuses his five-year-old son, Patrick, and his rich unhappy American wife, Eleanor. What occurs over the one day is the epitome of despicable parenting.