Book Review: Dear Dad by Giselle Green

Title: Dear Dad
Author: Giselle Green
Publisher: Yule Press
Publication Date: 31 March 2016

Twitter: @gisellegreenuk 

Rating: 4 out of 5


Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.  

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?  
Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.  
The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?


Thank you to the author for providing a copy of Dear Dad for review.

Dear Dad is the poignant and profound tale of 3 individuals – Nate, Jenna and Adam – and how they lives interweave throughout a period of several weeks.
Nate is a former war reporter suffering from some debilitating personal issues. He is holing up at home, hiding from the world and avoiding facing his demons. When 9-year-old Adam is accidentally thrown into his life and reaches out to him for help, Nate must look to put the past behind him and overcome his fears in order to support Adam. Will he be able to do this with the assistance of Jenna, Adam’s temporary class teacher (and tattoo artist)? Through their efforts to help Adam, Nate and Jenna’s lives move in a direction that neither could have anticipated.
The chapters alternate between Nate and Jenna as narrator, which is a good way of telling the tale from two points of view and thereby allowing the reader to become further immersed in the story. I really enjoyed Green’s style of writing and felt myself being absorbed into the pages, unable to put the book down.
When speaking with Green, she has likened the story to the film Sleepless in Seattle and I can see that Dear Dad invokes the same heart-warming feeling as the film. To me, the plot is also somewhat reminiscent of the film About A Boy, in that it revolves around a young boy searching for a father figure/protector in his life. However, whilst it does contain that similarity, Dear Dad addresses a wide range of deeper and very current issues, such as heartbreak, loss, mental illness, dementia and bullying. You may think that having so many issues within a story would create a confusing plotline, however it does not. Green has dealt sympathetically with each issue whilst managing to cleverly write them into the story in a fashion which allows each issue to be addressed separately and without clouding the other relevant issues within the story.
I thought the characterisation was really very good. Adam is, without a doubt, the star of the show. He is a young, neglected and bullied child with a very challenging home life. Let down by the educational system and social services, he is an odd mix of adult and child. All that he really wants is a proper family life and someone to care for him. I found his character to be both intolerably sad and also extremely heart-warming. Nate and Jenna are equally likeable characters. Nate is handsome, intelligent and kind, however he seems to have a knack for getting himself into sticky situations, despite his best intentions. Jenna is by far the more stable of the two, however she understandably has some significant trust issues which bring her into conflict with Nate, not to mention some career doubts and a pair of itchy feet that might drag her out of their lives forever. Whilst Nate and Jenna work together to help Adam, you can’t help but notice the impact he is having on their lives in return. This is a tale of how 3 broken souls work together to mend themselves.
I think my favourite scene in the book is when Nate accompanies Adam to his school to confront the headmaster. At this point I felt my heart swell with pride for Nate for having the conviction to face his own fears in the knowledge that the vulnerable young Adam needed his help.
Parts of the story are just heart-wrenching and you will want to leap into the pages to stand up for Adam. Other parts of the story contain a fantastic humorous note which lightens the story and ensures that it does not become too overladen by the serious underlying issues within the book. Dear Dad is an emotional and truly uplifting story, with great dollops of humour, that is guaranteed to melt even the iciest of hearts. For me, this is a book not to be missed and one that I would thoroughly recommend to all. Congratulations to Green for writing such a fabulously entertaining and heart-warming tale.


About the Author

Born in Chiswick, Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar where she has extensive family. She returned to the UK to study Biology at King’s College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.

Her debut novel Pandora’s Box won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister’s Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon kindle in 2012.

Her sixth novel DEAR DAD, released on 31st March 2106 is currently available for preorder on Amazon.

Giselle lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.

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