Daddy Loves You is a book by Patrick McKnight that attempts to deal with many “real life” issues such as abuse and family relationships.
The main character is Chad, whose ex-wife Anna Sue will not allow him to see his young daughter. However, once their daughter Keri reaches the age of fifteen, Anna Sue kicks her out. Keri must go live with her estranged father and the two struggle to form a normal father-daughter relationship due to Keri’s mistrust.
Unfortunately, Chad is not well characterized and falls short as a protagonist. Most of his character traits deal with how much he loves his daughter or his penchant for drinking alcohol. Anna Sue serves as a sort of antagonist for much of the book, a role that she fills adequately and predictably. Their daughter, Keri, had the most potential to be a better defined character. She seemed to have an interesting personality and complicated history, but she was not given enough time to develop into a fully fleshed out character.
One of the only characters that felt fully developed was Daisy, or “Ma”, as everyone refers to her. Her old fashioned ways and slight delusions made her quirky but still accessible to the reader. Her antics are often amusing, but she still maintains a more serious and caring side. She stands out in her unique ways of dealing with other characters and she is one of the only truly “likeable” characters in the novel.
The plot of the novel is a little predictable but the author does approach it in a fresh way with several plot twists. With more strongly developed characters, it would have been easier to understand some of the character’s motivations for their actions. Though the plot twists are surprising, they would have felt more authentic and plausible if there was more characterization to drive the character’s decisions.
The writing itself was not particularly strong. The novel had many typos and a chronic trouble with verb tenses. However, there were a few times that the author had a nice turn of phrase or chose a particular word that made the entire scene better. Unfortunately, these instances were not too uncommon, but they do show the potential skill of the author.
Though a finished novel, Daddy Loves You still feels more like a draft. Since it is rather short, new scenes helping with character development and plot could help make this into a more engaging story. Despite its shortcomings, the author clearly is passionate about the topic of his novel, and this book could easily be an emotional reading experience for some people.
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