Patremoir Tweet Summary #8: I Am My Father’s Son by Dan Hill

Though Dan Hill is famous as a singer and the writer of such songs as “Sometimes When We Touch” and “Can’t We Try,” I Am My Father’s Son is far more than just a celebrity memoir. Celebrity and the perils and complexity of the music industry are certainly a part of the story, yet throughout the book Dan Hill’s career arc is always coloured by his stormy, conflicted relationship with his father. The book is coloured, also, by strong sections dissecting the influence of race and racism on father, son and family. I Am My Father’s Son is important reading for anyone anatomizing the subtleties of racism, Canadian racism in particular.

Dan Hill is both lucky and unlucky in having had a very complex, conflicted and driven father to write about, and the book is peppered with shrewd, perceptive insights such as, “Like so many highly driven people, Dad was a different man outside the home than he was with us.” The father drove the children as hard as he drove himself, and part of the conflict between father and son was fuelled by the painfully high standards of the father. Small wonder that Dan Hill IV, son and song writer, risked hurting Dan Hill III, first Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and an Officer of the Order of Canada, by naming his first son David, instead of Dan Hill V. Small wonder that he was driven to write this patremoir. I Am My Father’s Son is an honest, loving book about a sometimes difficult, yet often lovable man.

I Am My Father’s Son tweets:

Dad slipped in and out of various stages of melancholia for the last thirteen years of his life.

March 11

If God’s voice had thundered out of the clouds to issue some awful, irrevocable command, I thought, he would have sounded like Dad—only less aggravating.
March 10

At sixty, Dad had an undimmed charisma that fooled people into believing he was robust and healthy.

March 9

Would I never be able to separate myself from my father, or at least be viewed by the world as my own person?

March 8

Dad’s internal emotional wiring had undergone little or no change since he was a boy.

March 7

No son can be objective about his father.

March 6

Trust Dad to storm into my room like some Black Marquis de Sade, batting around preposterous and disgusting threats, only to saunter out minutes later masquerading as Betty Crocker.

March 5

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