Jeanne's Reviews > Big Fish

Big Fish by Daniel Wallace
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's review
Jun 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read in June, 2012

This is a short little book but powerful nonetheless. William Bloom is at the bedside of his dying father, a father who wasn't home much and who seemed to hide his true self through telling jokes and tall tales. William desperately wants to "know" his father, to get past the stories and discover the real person. Instead, up to the end, his father uses humor and evasion to avoid establishing a deeper relationship. The book mainly consists of the amazing and unbelievable stories Edward has created about his life.

On one level the book broke my heart in the same way knowing and not knowing my own father has. Can any child really know a larger-than-life parent? Are we always left with the stories instead of the real person?

And yet....the tall tales, the myths, that Edward Bloom tells about himself reveal a great deal about the kind of man he was and the kind of man he wanted to be. Will his son be able to accept the truths found there? Will it be enough for him? William constructs 4 different scenes of his father's death, so we know he is grappling with how he wants his relationship with his dad to finally resolve.

"Big Fish" is one of my favorite movies. I didn't know it was a book until I accidentally saw it at the library. The book and movie complement each other and I found myself remembering certain scenes from the movie while I was reading. I've watched the movie twice (highly unusual for me), and I am sure I will read the book more than once. It's a little gem.

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