3 out of 4 stars
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If you ask me, parenting is a lost art. With that said, it's great to see someone who not only had a terrific parent but also appreciated it so much that she wrote a book to praise her stepfather! In Thank You Daddy: 12 Significant Life Lessons, Linda Eatmon-Jones not only praises her stepfather, but she also passes on 12 lessons she learned thanks to his words and actions.
As you may have guessed, Thank You Daddy: 12 Significant Life Lessons is broken into twelve chapters. Each of these chapters shows how Herbert George Harrell, Sr. (the titular "Daddy") lived and passed on these vital lessons, and most of them have some sub-lessons within them that work together toward the overall lesson. Things like responsibility, faithfulness, selflessness, loyalty, and restraint with money are taught through Herbert's own life. In less than 70 pages I not only felt inspired to be the kind of person Linda's stepfather raised her to be, I also wished everyone could have a male role model like him in their lives.
Herbert was clearly a terrific man, and this book is an excellent dedication to him. There were some terrific quotes, such as "you worked those five jobs so we could work one job to provide for our family when we became adults" or "when you would ask a question and my response was 'I don't know,' your response was, 'Tell me what you do know.'" The latter is something I plan to use in my day-to-day life any time I hear the words "I don't know" from now on, and there are other gems as well. For example, I've always been one of those people who has trouble making a big decision (often even little ones) for fear of making the wrong choice. Linda's Daddy was very proactive about this issue, and Linda wrote: "You [Daddy] always said most decisions don't require a whole lot of research, especially if you take advantage of the knowledge you gained from experience."
However, while I enjoyed some of the lessons, moments, and quotes, I really wanted more of them. The book felt like short diary pages clipped and categorized; it was an appetizer when I wanted a full meal. I would've loved more detail and even some narrative with the lessons. My favorite parts of the book were when Linda spent a couple pages setting a scene and going through what her Daddy did, but many lessons are garnered over a mere few paragraphs or a single page. The images could've been better as well: Linda includes an image before each chapter, and while she begins the book with two images of her Daddy, it's impossible to tell what's a stock photo and what's genuine for the rest of the book.
Because the book is broken up into lessons, not a narrative in chronological order, a couple things are brought up multiple times. For example, the author's father in law's running of the grocery store is used in the lessons on responsibility (when he first rented and ran the store, and also a brilliant and generous mention of when he gave credit lines to customers when they needed them), loyalty (still working with the original couple that owned it, not merely overriding their decisions), and knowing your limits (when she went to the store with a grocery list and the two of them shopped together). This is rare, and while each of these instances is rather unique to their lessons, I can't help but think it would've been nice to include all of these at once somehow.
Finally, since the book is primarily focused on lessons, I would've really loved some sort of lesson recap. The table of contents is at the back of the book, and I would've loved if it was paired with a list with all of the individual lessons as well. Sadly, I managed to forget so many of the lessons immediately after reading the book that I had to go through highlights I made to even come up with the examples in this review.
Despite these flaws and the handful of minor grammatical errors I found, I enjoyed my time with Thank You Daddy: 12 Significant Life Lessons. Just like Linda, I'd recommend it to people who are fathers or stepfathers and need some inspiration to be a great role model. I can also recommend it to any parent and even people who don't have a male role model in their lives. Maybe if children see the lessons a great father can pass on, they can absorb some of those lessons as well. My rating of the book is 3 out of 4 stars.
Thank You Daddy
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