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Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father

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“If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.”—The Iowan John Price appears to have thrown in the towel. He has spent the last year struggling to support his family, neglecting to spend time with his wife and children, and becoming increasingly cynical about the degraded state of the natural world around him “If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.”—The Iowan John Price appears to have thrown in the towel. He has spent the last year struggling to support his family, neglecting to spend time with his wife and children, and becoming increasingly cynical about the degraded state of the natural world around him. After a heart-attack scare, however, his wife demands that he start appreciating all the “good things” in his life: their mouse-infested old house, their hopelessly overgrown yard, and most of all, the joys and humiliations of parenthood. In his quest to become a better father, Price faces many unexpected challenges—like understanding his grandmother’s decision to die, and supporting his nature-loving sons’ decision to make their home a “no-kill zone” for all living creatures. Still he finds the second chance he was looking for—to save himself and, perhaps, his small corner of an imperfect yet still beautiful world.


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“If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.”—The Iowan John Price appears to have thrown in the towel. He has spent the last year struggling to support his family, neglecting to spend time with his wife and children, and becoming increasingly cynical about the degraded state of the natural world around him “If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.”—The Iowan John Price appears to have thrown in the towel. He has spent the last year struggling to support his family, neglecting to spend time with his wife and children, and becoming increasingly cynical about the degraded state of the natural world around him. After a heart-attack scare, however, his wife demands that he start appreciating all the “good things” in his life: their mouse-infested old house, their hopelessly overgrown yard, and most of all, the joys and humiliations of parenthood. In his quest to become a better father, Price faces many unexpected challenges—like understanding his grandmother’s decision to die, and supporting his nature-loving sons’ decision to make their home a “no-kill zone” for all living creatures. Still he finds the second chance he was looking for—to save himself and, perhaps, his small corner of an imperfect yet still beautiful world.

30 review for Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Memoir at its finest. Spiritual growth, parenting, family relationships, and our responsibility to the environment are all topics developed in Price’s memoir. His writing brings to life his remarkable wife, and intelligent, curious, and loving sons Ben and Spencer. Really enjoyable reading as you watch the Price family enjoy the ups and downs of precious life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Widner

    A five star review for "Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father" by John Price A must read...Just in time for Father's Day! A five star review for "Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father" by John Price A must read...Just in time for Father's Day!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    In truth, there are a few four-letter words in this memoir, but really, the tone is so wholesome that one would hardly know it. In fact, it's almost as if the book comes with a "Good Housekeeping" Seal of Approval. It's that apple-pie family-oriented. Maybe the setting of Iowa helps. I somehow think of that state as a healthy slice of wholesome (not counting genetically-modified corn, that is). The main narrative arc consists of a middle-aged writer/professor who has a nascent heart issue, young In truth, there are a few four-letter words in this memoir, but really, the tone is so wholesome that one would hardly know it. In fact, it's almost as if the book comes with a "Good Housekeeping" Seal of Approval. It's that apple-pie family-oriented. Maybe the setting of Iowa helps. I somehow think of that state as a healthy slice of wholesome (not counting genetically-modified corn, that is). The main narrative arc consists of a middle-aged writer/professor who has a nascent heart issue, young children who refuse to kill any living creature in the "No-Kill Zone" that is their house and yard, AND (ironically enough) a 92-year-old grandmother who is choosing to go off her meds and die naturally. You see the problem. And the possibilities. It enables author Price to examine the meaning of life in all facets -- his own, his wife and children's, his grandmother's, etc.. Leaven this bread with a healthy dose of nature writing (both author and kids are fascinated with same) and you have the tenor of this book. The book demonstrates both fine writing and a trustworthy voice that you will grow comfortable with quickly. Some chapters could be excerpted as stand-alones, such as the riffs on recluse spiders and praying mantises. Humor is used throughout as well -- all good. The only asterisk I have is the extended sections of family history which did not quite keep pace with the interest level of Price's current life. Also, at times the kids' whining about not killing anything, including mosquitoes, can grate, but Price himself seemed aware of this possibility, keeping it at a minimum and using Grandma K to skewer it herself (all together now: Yay, Grandma K!). All told, however, a worthy entry in the crowded memoir field. At least there are no alcoholics, druggies, incest victims, abusers of every brand, or eating disorders.

  4. 4 out of 5

    RYCJ

    What I found particularly engaging, was taking into account the metamorphosis I experienced reading Daddy Long Legs. I started off trying to first pick up on John's muse. Was I about to indulge in a little dry wit... a lot dry wit? Would it require tissues, or waiting on a mood to suit the prose to finish? But before I could pin down the muse, I happened on Steph, marveling over her perspective on life... `concentrating on what is, rather than what's missing'. I walked right into loving her mothe What I found particularly engaging, was taking into account the metamorphosis I experienced reading Daddy Long Legs. I started off trying to first pick up on John's muse. Was I about to indulge in a little dry wit... a lot dry wit? Would it require tissues, or waiting on a mood to suit the prose to finish? But before I could pin down the muse, I happened on Steph, marveling over her perspective on life... `concentrating on what is, rather than what's missing'. I walked right into loving her mothering outlook, and skills. Next thing I knew, with her on one end, and John on the other, both did a fine job helping me connect with their little boy's imagination, grappling to understand the universe and its many furry creatures (without voices), both alive and not so alive. I mean, these creatures not only had individual identities, but they had names, shadowed by the very humorously persuasive handle John used to tell their stories. I came to adore the boy's outlook on nature, especially Spencer's. Baby vs. Pengy, I cried laughing, and couldn't help but appreciate his handle on handling human-made disasters showing up on the news as well. What a treat, as was the $5 lesson... credit to Ben; another deep reflection I almost missed. But imagine this... each currency note with its own identity? ---Remarkable. Amazing. Very well done. Gramma K. was the angel on top, the part where I ended up having to grab the tissues. Just an overall genuinely rich, and beautiful memoir. A must to experience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    A beautiful and funny memoir about love, loss, and never taking anything for granted. This memoir is about John T. Price's look at life after a cardiac scare. He begins to take a closer look at the family he hasn't spoken to in a long while because of how busy he was. He got to know his little boys a lot better, and after a scare with his wife, began to join the family for outings that he never used to go on. This book is an eye opener to people just going with the flow in life, and encourages t A beautiful and funny memoir about love, loss, and never taking anything for granted. This memoir is about John T. Price's look at life after a cardiac scare. He begins to take a closer look at the family he hasn't spoken to in a long while because of how busy he was. He got to know his little boys a lot better, and after a scare with his wife, began to join the family for outings that he never used to go on. This book is an eye opener to people just going with the flow in life, and encourages them to stop, look around, and realize what they have been blessed with. Life is short, don't take it for granted. I really enjoyed the comical outlook the author has on life. He really has a way of connecting with the reader so you feel the pain in dealing with some of the difficult situations that he is dealing with, as well as the excitement he feels with happy news he receives. I found it hysterical how adamant both the boys were about saving all creatures. I especially loved the praying mantis save. It is also wonderful how the author connects with his sons. The end was especially touching with the "dust fairies" and the simple explanations of the world through a child's eyes. I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Literary Mama

    In Daddy Long Legs, author John Price and his two young sons, Ben and Spencer, keep their adventures close to home. Price is a University of Nebraska at Omaha professor and author of two previous books of nonfiction, Man Killed by Pheasant: And Other Kinships and Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands. This memoir begins with a vaguely diagnosed “cardiac event” brought on by the stresses of parenting and work, and evolves into a meditation on life and dea In Daddy Long Legs, author John Price and his two young sons, Ben and Spencer, keep their adventures close to home. Price is a University of Nebraska at Omaha professor and author of two previous books of nonfiction, Man Killed by Pheasant: And Other Kinships and Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands. This memoir begins with a vaguely diagnosed “cardiac event” brought on by the stresses of parenting and work, and evolves into a meditation on life and death. Read Literary Mama's full review here: http://www.literarymama.com/reviews/a...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Judey

    This was an engaging look, from a father's point of view",of the coming to terms with the finality of life. As Price learns how to be a father he also learns to face the mortality of both himself and his grandmother. It wasn't the story I thought it would be, but he has a good style and the book reads as a collection of intermingled essays. I found myself looking ahead to the end of each chapter, to see if I could guess the moral. This was an engaging look, from a father's point of view",of the coming to terms with the finality of life. As Price learns how to be a father he also learns to face the mortality of both himself and his grandmother. It wasn't the story I thought it would be, but he has a good style and the book reads as a collection of intermingled essays. I found myself looking ahead to the end of each chapter, to see if I could guess the moral.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leda Frost

    Price's reflections on family and home are at their best. If Thoreau thought most men lead lives of quiet desperation, Price's work suggests most lead lives of quiet love. Love, in its most ordinary form, is truly the most extraordinary thing any of us may have the privilege of experiencing. He is a husband and father, a native Iowan, whose love of writing opens the door for others to witness the sort of life which is so often dismissed by others as boring. Nothing could be further from the trut Price's reflections on family and home are at their best. If Thoreau thought most men lead lives of quiet desperation, Price's work suggests most lead lives of quiet love. Love, in its most ordinary form, is truly the most extraordinary thing any of us may have the privilege of experiencing. He is a husband and father, a native Iowan, whose love of writing opens the door for others to witness the sort of life which is so often dismissed by others as boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. The small dramas that play out take center stage; indeed, they are the sorts of things that make up a life, particularly that of a father with young sons. Insight into the universality of such an experience is brought about by the details Price focuses on, offering us clear and humorous writing with which to walk alongside him as he, like the rest of us, tries to figure life out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Richardson

    Ah, memoirs. This one's a humdinger. A quiet, funny, stealthily engrossing memoir about fatherhood. I love cuddling into the chapters as I don't have kids. Price's boys are just buck nakedly decent human beings who adore nature beyond all adult reason. I gave this to my sweetheart for father's day. He loves it, too. Meet Wilma the worm, and Baby the bendable blue velvet warrior, and Gramma K. and her crabby chihuahua. Spend some time with one funny Iowan, John Price, whose heart expands through Ah, memoirs. This one's a humdinger. A quiet, funny, stealthily engrossing memoir about fatherhood. I love cuddling into the chapters as I don't have kids. Price's boys are just buck nakedly decent human beings who adore nature beyond all adult reason. I gave this to my sweetheart for father's day. He loves it, too. Meet Wilma the worm, and Baby the bendable blue velvet warrior, and Gramma K. and her crabby chihuahua. Spend some time with one funny Iowan, John Price, whose heart expands through the rigors and riot of fatherhood.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julene Bair

    You couldn't hope for a warmer, more thoughtful and enjoyable summer read than this. Here is a father who not only shows up, but reaches into the child-rearing mire so consistently and deeply that he really does need eight long limbs. Thanks, John Price, for the example and for your many insights and the many laughs. (Don't forget the laughs. This is also one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read.) You couldn't hope for a warmer, more thoughtful and enjoyable summer read than this. Here is a father who not only shows up, but reaches into the child-rearing mire so consistently and deeply that he really does need eight long limbs. Thanks, John Price, for the example and for your many insights and the many laughs. (Don't forget the laughs. This is also one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    As usual, Price doesn't disappoint. He has a marvelously straightforward narrative style which is very emotionally powerful (at both the hysterical and the heartbreaking times) but there is never a heavy hand about it, no forcing. You feel it because you feel it. Price also manages to become extremely intimate with the reader. Often, it feels as if you are sharing someone else's meditation. In any event, this is a wonderful book from a moving writer. It is not to be missed. As usual, Price doesn't disappoint. He has a marvelously straightforward narrative style which is very emotionally powerful (at both the hysterical and the heartbreaking times) but there is never a heavy hand about it, no forcing. You feel it because you feel it. Price also manages to become extremely intimate with the reader. Often, it feels as if you are sharing someone else's meditation. In any event, this is a wonderful book from a moving writer. It is not to be missed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yvette Kinney

    Written by the professor heading up University of Nebraska at Omaha's Creative Nonfiction program, this memoir provides a close look of family life in the Price household. It is full of cute and interesting stories about the Price doctrine of living creatures. The relationships between family members run the gamut from cute to funny, from deep love to grieving loss. I laughed. I cried. It is a truly unique story about an unusual family told as only an incredible writer can tell it. Written by the professor heading up University of Nebraska at Omaha's Creative Nonfiction program, this memoir provides a close look of family life in the Price household. It is full of cute and interesting stories about the Price doctrine of living creatures. The relationships between family members run the gamut from cute to funny, from deep love to grieving loss. I laughed. I cried. It is a truly unique story about an unusual family told as only an incredible writer can tell it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Taitt

    Enjoyed it very much, except the title is a bit misleading. It's a good book, but it's about John Price having a sort of midlife crisis revolving in part around the dying and death of his grandmother. The kids do play a role, but a smaller role than I expected from the title. And the parents were already interested in nature. Don't get me wrong, it's very worth reading. Enjoyed it very much, except the title is a bit misleading. It's a good book, but it's about John Price having a sort of midlife crisis revolving in part around the dying and death of his grandmother. The kids do play a role, but a smaller role than I expected from the title. And the parents were already interested in nature. Don't get me wrong, it's very worth reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Tyx

    John T. Price's memoir of parenthood and (re)discovering the natural world is a beautiful portrait of the challenges and wonders of being a new parent, and I love the way that he integrates the natural history of the Loess Hills in western Iowa with his own family story. The characters of the children Ben and Spencer in particular are lovingly and comically rendered. A wonderful book. John T. Price's memoir of parenthood and (re)discovering the natural world is a beautiful portrait of the challenges and wonders of being a new parent, and I love the way that he integrates the natural history of the Loess Hills in western Iowa with his own family story. The characters of the children Ben and Spencer in particular are lovingly and comically rendered. A wonderful book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Lund

    I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads first reads giveaway. An absolutely delightful book about the joys and sometimes the creepy crawly things, of fatherhood. John T. Price manages to make it sound magical, which to a loving father, I suppose it is. Daddy Long Legs is funny as well as thoughtful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Absolutely loved this book. The childhood similarities along with geographic similarities made this even more enjoyable. Life is about choices, and one should try to never lose the idea of what home is.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Brokaw

    A very nostalgic read. Funny and touching!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Barnes

  19. 5 out of 5

    James

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan McCabe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ally

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tori

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Garrison

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janine DeBaise

  28. 4 out of 5

    أحمد نبيل

  29. 4 out of 5

    Q2

  30. 5 out of 5

    LLuckey

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