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C'mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Ryan Knighton's humorous and perceptive tales of fatherhood take us inside an unusual new family, one bound by its father's particular darkness and light.

C'mon Papa is Ryan Knighton's heartbreaking and hilarious voyage through the first year of fatherhood. Becoming a father is a stressful, daunting rite of passage to be sure, but for a blind father, the fears are unimagina
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Knopf Canada
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140th out of 237 books — 71 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 03, 2010 Violet rated it it was amazing
Ryan Knighton is blind. He's a Dad. This book, in essence, is about parenting while blind - the things you assume would be a challenge and the things that, as a person who isn't blind, don't even occur to you to consider.

I loved this book.

I loved it because I like books about things I "get" (in this case, parenting) and things I've never experienced (blindness). I loved that Ryan talked about the good parts and the shitty parts (in some cases, literally shitty) with a sense of humour. It's not
Penny McGill
Sep 07, 2013 Penny McGill rated it really liked it
I heard Ryan Knighton on the radio a while back with Jian Ghomeshi and I enjoyed hearing him talk about parenting very much. He had a great sense of humour and a turn of phrase that made me wish he lived closer by and might want to be my friend... So, instead of following through with this feeling that makes me seem a bit like a stalker I decided to read his book and see how things played out.

It's hard to describe this book in any way that will do it justice. Ryan Knighton is a University profes
Aban (Aby)
Oct 12, 2010 Aban (Aby) rated it liked it
Ryan Knighton is an author and teacher of English, living in Vancouver. At the age of eighteen he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition which left him blind. This book covers the few years before and after he and his wife, Tracy, had their baby, Tess.

I enjoyed the book for its humurous accounts of a sightless man trying desperately to support his (extremely efficient) wife and baby daughter. Even more, I appreciated the insights Knighton allowed us into the physical and emotional diffi
Not too sure why it had taken this long to pick up this book; since I loved Cockeyed so much.

After reading Cockeyed and experiencing a glimpse into the world of blindness I began to look at the everyday goings on as the difficult tasks they can be. It provided me with an appreciation that others not only "see" things differently, but "experience" them differently too.

C'Mon Papa is just that. Through the use of his slapstick humor, his matter of fact-ness, Ryan Knighton has given me the opportu
Mrs. Reed
Apr 17, 2015 Mrs. Reed rated it liked it
I heard a radio interview with the author in which he read an excerpt from this book that had me laughing out loud alone in my car. I spent years trying to find it. Finally, I was able to locate a used copy to purchase from a library in Canada (I don't mean to make it sound like I was single-mindedly pursuing this book every waking moment--but when I thought about it and would try to find it, I couldn't).

It was kind of neat to read about the difficulties of being newly blind while being a new da
Ryan Knighton proves himself again to be a comedic and passionate writer, describing his life as a husband awaiting pregnancy, then a baby with his wife. The challenge is that he is blind - he has very little sight, having lost most of it by the time he was 14.

For me personally, I found that I could relate in so many levels. My career had included six intense years as a teacher assistant to a young blind student, from Kindergarten through Grade 5. To be very good with a blind individual require
Jan 24, 2011 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
First off, this book is not commercially available in the United States. Remarkable, considering it was featured on "This American Life"... Anyway, if you are unable to cross the border into Canada, or if you don't have a friend like I do, who is willing to risk life and limb to smuggle the book across the border for you, then you might want to pass on this review.

Ryan Knighton writes about he and his wife's attempt at having a child, then her pregnancy, and ultimately their daughter's first cou
Christopher Litsinger
After hearing Knighton on This American Life, I thought this would be a pretty funny book. And being a dad with young kids and a blind mother, I figured I'd find plenty to connect to.
The book is, in places, funny, but it is actually far more melancholy than I expected as well, dealing with Knighton's insecurities and fears as he and his wife struggled with a miscarriage (almost the first 1/4 of the book is dedicated to this.)

“Or maybe she’s a bit gassy,” I said.
Gas is the preferred explanation
Mar 06, 2014 Carly rated it liked it
I first heard an excerpt from this book on This American Life, but I read his other memoir, Cockeyed, first. Both are incredibly insightful look into the life of a man who has been gradually going blind since he was a teenager, and C'mon Papa focuses on his experience of becoming a blind father. I enjoyed Cockeyed a bit more than C'mon Papa, although with this book I will never forget his descriptions of accidentally catching his daughter's sweater on fire (didn't see the candle!) or nearly ...more
Jean Mc
Oct 29, 2011 Jean Mc rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
A very honest depiction of a first father. The fears of not living up to what you have imagined is something that we can all relate to whether you are sighted or not. He hits the nail on the head with dealing with situations that just simply out of your control. Deal with what you got and anything else is gravy!!!

Not as hilarious I was originally expecting from some of the other reviews I read. But you find yourself truly pulling for this guy and thinking what the heck would I do. The wittiness
Aug 30, 2010 Alexis rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Ryan Knighton is blind. In this book, he becomes a dad and talks about all the challenges faced by blind fathers. However, Knighton is also very funny. It's hard not to get engrossed in his story. I love that he lives in East Van and that I can picture him walking around that neighbourhood. I've read both of his books, and will happily read anything he writes because of his unique viewpoint and sense of humour.
Mar 29, 2013 Sonja rated it liked it
I had read Ryan's first book a few years ago, and I loved it. It was funny, honest and insightful. So that's what I was hoping in this one as well. And it delivered - mostly. Honest and insightful it was, but I missed the funny parts a bit. They were there, of course, but overall I felt this was on the melancholic side of things a lot more often. Which isn't in itself a bad thing, it's just not what I was hoping for. Still a good read though.
Cas D.
Aug 19, 2013 Cas D. rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and completely captivating, though it's possible that my interest was held because I felt I could relate to both East Van and parenting hurdles. A lot of good lessons in patience, self-realization, and personal growth that also apply to sighted people. The only thing I disliked was how the last third of the book was written...felt sort of like he was rushing along to get to the final chapter. All in all, I'd recommend it to any new parent. It was a great read.
Laura Johansen
Jan 12, 2013 Laura Johansen rated it it was amazing
As a mom whose daughter has a severe visual impairment I loved this book! Realizing the challenges he faces as a blind dad, but I loved his sense of humor even more. I also appreciated the very matter-of-fact way his wife handles his blindness, and that she wasn't really concerned with the possibility that their baby might be blind, because she is around her blind husband every day. Such a great book made me laugh out loud and cry in a couple of places!!
Orla Hegarty
Aug 28, 2012 Orla Hegarty rated it it was amazing
I summarized the ending of this book (the title giving climax) to my 17 year old daughter this afternoon over a late lunch after giving her a short summary of the book.

I don't know if Brian Kingston :) understands how fully he connected with all parents, I hope he does.

I encourage him to write further about his journey.
Oct 13, 2010 Lena rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, wonderfully chronicled, a story of a new father , but not just any new father, one who is blind. I laughed, I cried, I was amazed at his insightful journey that every new parent travels; Ryan Knighton's story being just that more poignant. Highly recommended. Now to read his other book.
Oct 30, 2010 Charlie rated it liked it
I was amused from beginning to end. Brought back memories for me. So much anxiety and uncertainty with the first child. What a daunting additional challenge to be blind. Undoubtedly his sense of humor has been a great asset.
MaryAnn Crossett
May 31, 2012 MaryAnn Crossett rated it liked it
I loved this book. Ryan struggled his way through a new and challenging hurdle but in the end was successful and had the confidence to tackle new hurdles that would certainly come his way. Easy to read and most enjoyable.
Jun 09, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Funny and poignant. My husband is partially blind and we have a baby daughter so the stories and emotions were familiar to me. That said, I think this book is well written and brings the reader into Knighton's experience in a way that is both enjoyable and thought provoking.
Sep 27, 2010 Marie rated it it was amazing
This is Ryan's second book.. a continuation of his life as he becomes a dad in the dark. His writing style is very enjoyable. I could somewhat relate to him as a person with a disability living a normal life. Here's hoping there's a 3rd book!
Jul 14, 2010 Patti rated it liked it
I thought this was a great look at fatherhood without even the issues that dealt specifically with being blind. What an amazing guy.
Jun 29, 2016 Annette rated it it was amazing
Funny, intelligent, poignant. It hits the mark while making you laugh and reflect on your privilege as a sighted person.
Brian Cole
Jun 07, 2012 Brian Cole rated it really liked it
Intuitive and hilarious. I enjoyed his prayer, his story of the bear and the event that became the title of the book.
Caitlin rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2014
Laurinda Fournier
Laurinda Fournier rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2016
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“A monumental decision such as starting a family requires persuasive dissertations, licences, spreadsheets and field research. That's what I assumed until one night when we were lying in bed and, if I recall correctly, I asked Tracy if we were ready to have a family now, and she said sure. That was it.” 1 likes
“A tiredness crept over her that would shame narcoleptics. She could sleep anytime, anywhere, in any position. No hyperbole. I mean, we'd be at the dinner table, and I'd be in mid-sentence when I'd detect a fresh, eerie silence in the room, the kind that didn't sound to my blind man's ears like somebody listening. I'd just carry on with dinner, and hope that she'd made it to bed this time.” 1 likes
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