This one's a charmer. John's marriage has cooled, his goth-leaning daughter thinks her dad a doofus, his mother's losing her marbles, and his heavy-metal washout of a brother is just out of jail, again. John's barely holding it together as-is. Then a man from his past shows up with a secret about John's long-dead father, who maybe isn't exactly so dead. With moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, cringe-inducing awkward, and oh-no gasp sad, this novel's a great story about a man who no longer knows exactly how to get by and about family bonds that will bend but, with a little luck, won't break under the strain of a world gone crazy.— Chris Lee
"A fearless, angry, brutally funny poke in the eye of the American music machine and pop culture industry. Tom Matthews' memorable, highly readable first novel is that rare literary artifact - a satire with teeth." —Tom Perrotta on Like We Care
Raising the Dad is a small masterpiece that charts the all-too-familiar forces hastening the decline of the average American family, and in it Tom Matthews has produced a classic novel of modern life.
In Raising the Dad, the dysfunction in John Husted’s family is vexing enough: His marriage has slipped into a state of passionless functionality. His teenage daughter is growing distant and mean. His older brother—a washed-up heavy-metal singer—is fresh out of jail, and their mother may be slipping away to dementia. Things just seemed to veer off course since the death of the family patriarch many years earlier.
But then John is stunned to learn that his father’s fate was not what he had long believed it to be. It falls upon John to decide if he should break the news to his family, knowing that the truth could make the family whole – or smash it to pieces.
“Raising the Dad mines family dysfunction for all of its complex truths and wild emotions. Tom Matthews strikes the damnedest balance—aching loss, brutal humor—as his befuddled protagonist deals with mind-blowing circumstances.”—Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half-A-Life
“The sensitivity and unexpected humor that Tom Matthews brings to this emotionally complex book extends to the protagonist’s rock singer brother.” —Producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
About the Author
TOM MATTHEWS wrote the Costa-Gavras film Mad City, starring Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta. His satirical novel Like We Care was published in 2004 to great acclaim. As a journalist, feature writer, and social commentator, his work has appeared in publications across the country. His writing for Milwaukee Magazineearned him Wisconsin’s highest press honors for long form feature writing in 2013 and 2014.
Praise for Raising the Dad:
"In this touching story of a father and son reconnecting in an extremely unconventional way, Matthews (Like We Care, 2004) provokes tough questions surrounding death and confronts the complicated choice to either end or sustain a loved one’s life. Delivered with humility and humor, a seemingly unbelievable scenario becomes very real and brings a family at the brink of falling apart back together."—Booklist
"Raising the Dad mines family dysfunction for all of its complex truths and wild emotions. Tom Matthews strikes the damnedest balance—aching loss, brutal humor—as his befuddled protagonist deals with mind-blowing circumstances."—Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half-A-Life
"Tom Matthews’ Raising the Dad winningly gives us the dark joys of watching an unhappy family struggling to right their listing, leaking ship. John Husted—a man saddened and saddled in familiar ways—is thrown even more for a loop when the unimaginable happens. A wonderful tale of how families, despite themselves, endure." —CJ Hribal, author of The Company Car
"The sensitivity and unexpected humor that Tom Matthews brings to this emotionally complex book extends to the protagonist's rock singer brother, who over the course of this incredible family saga goes from heavy metal almost-was to tribute band washout to simply a mother's son." —Producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
"Raising the Dad is a quickly engaging novel that is both timely and timeless, with vivid, original characters that the reader will feel connected to immediately and lively writing that tells an intriguing story."—Liz Moore author of The Unseen World and Heft