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My Father's House

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4.53  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Inspired by The Basketball Diaries, My Father’s House is an homage to the sparse lyricism of Bruce Springsteen and the slamming, punchy storytelling of The Ramones. Both raw and humorous, it is a tale of illness and coping, fathers and sons, and the birth of the writer. It explores compulsions and confusion, and how it is we deal with grief, ghosts and our inability to com ...more
Paperback, Advance Reader Copy, 171 pages
Published 2011
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4.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  34 ratings  ·  20 reviews


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Tom
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I held off on reading this book for a while: having recently experienced the loss of a parent to cancer, I didn't want to either walk into memories of that situation or find that the depiction of such a situation in this book was wanting.

When I finally read the book--and here let me say that my objectivity is clouded because I do consider Ben Tanzer a good friend--I struggled with it at first, which, I think, is what we're supposed to do, just as the central character grapples with the reality o
...more
Caleb Ross
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
(this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers Collective)

Ben Tanzer, in his sixth book, takes the inherent heartache associated with a cancer struggle and redirects the focus from the sick (a father) to the coping (the son). In this seemingly simple but extremely important reversal Tanzer has crafted a book that simultaneously represents a perfect extension of his own canon while tapping into a previously unexplored sense of extended vulnerability.

Tanzer’s use of monologue to extract emot
...more
David
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tanzer knocked the wind out of me on this one. He just quietly puts it out there, but the impact still left me breathless. Intimate, insightful, and honest. I really felt like I got in there together with the narrator, felt it with him. It's like sitting calmly on a high voltage power line. The surface is calm, but the rest is anything but.
Ben
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It changed my life.
Mel Bosworth
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had the good fortune to be able to blurb this book. Here it is:

"The prose of Ben Tanzer's My Father's House is a waterfall, crashing cool onto our fevered heads and then carving pathways straight through to our hearts, never slowing, never shying, laced with the glitter of honesty, fear, and a son's love for his dying father. Despite the torrent, Tanzer shows exemplary control as he brings us into his narrator's swirling mind to explore the black, bottomless pools of all things yet to be exper
...more
Julie
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Ben Tanzer has found an uncanny ability to get inside my head. At times bordering on self-indulgent, he's somehow able to capture moments in time and distill them to raw emotion. Having lost my father to a car accident (not the same as cancer), I found myself drawn to the themes of relationships, regret, and ultimately freedom that can come from loss. I hated the carelessness of the protagonist when he slept around on his wife and the devotion he gave to his running - seemed a bit ou ...more
Ryan
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lori
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Read 10/15/11 - 10/19/11
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended (with tissues at hand)
Pgs: 171
Publisher: Main St. Rag

So. You know how I've been reviewing Ben Tanzer's books for awhile now, right? And you know how I think this guy can do no wrong as an author, right? Ok... just so we're clear...

My Father's House is the newest of Ben's books, published this August through Main St. Rag. Dealing heavily with one son's worry, anxiety, and grief over the slow, cancerous death of his father, it was almost too u
...more
Peter
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I've mentioned many times here, Ben Tanzer is a great friend of mine, and I make no claim to objectivity when passing along my thoughts on his books. Besides, I am in no way a critic, and my thoughts on books - not just Ben's - are instead those of a fan of literature. Although all of Ben's fiction draws significantly from his own life experiences, his latest effort My Father's House is probably his most personal work yet. In fact, by his own admission, the book began as a memoir which he cou ...more
Geoff Hyatt
Ben Tanzer has covered a lot of ground since he broke onto the scene with his revolving POV tale of damaged youth coming-of-age, Lucky Man, back in 2007. The author has always tackled the rites of passage associated with male identity in his work, but has broken new ground with My Father's House. The book still carries the pop culture awareness and lively voice of his earlier material, but this time couched in a more introspective character who realizes "you must constantly revisit what you thin ...more
Jason Donnelly
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In short, this is a novella about accepting that it's okay to be successful, and it's beautifully written. The book runs a gamut of emotion and there are points that you're angry at the main character, there are sections where you're so sad for him that it hurts, and when you turn the page on chapter 70 to finish the book, you're proud of him and if you've ever thought about writing, you want to go sit down at the computer and start making it happen.

If I can offer any recommendation, it's read t
...more
Jeff Phillips
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reading experience is a very real portrayal of loss, and the seasons we all go through in life that run parallel to those pains. It's human, it's tender, it's hopeful, it's bitter, it's redemptive, it's messy, it's shameful, and not in any overly sentimental way. Ben Tanzer earns the emotions here because they run the gamut of honesty. And again, not in any sort cliche kind of "honest." This thing is fucking honest. I experienced the loss of my dad to cancer over ten years ago, and the prec ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This barely looks like literature, but it is. It's shorter than what its page count lets you believe (171). It's separated in micro-chapters that are one to four pages long. MY FATHER'S HOUSE is the existential struggle and longings of a man who's father dies. While reading it in short burst doesn't make sense, long sittings will carry you through the complexity of his thought process and the evolution of his relationship with his surrounding. It's a little hermetic, but I kinda dug it. Reminded ...more
Nik Korpon
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read Tanzer. Cry. Run. Repeat.

Review coming soon at The Nervous Breakdown.
Jason Fisk
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novella. I felt like it had a different feel to it than other Tanzer writings; a peek behind the curtain, perhaps? I don't know, and I don't want to think about it too much.
Ethel Rohan
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fine and plain storytelling full of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed.
Tim
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whoa.
Victor Giron
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Tanzer's best work thus far.
Ray Charbonneau
Ben has a way with sharing the confusion that life and awareness bring. It's very direct and very human.

In this book, he has the protagonist carry almost the entire weight of the story. It's a book about relationships, especially the relationship with his dying father, but I felt like I only saw one side of the picture - I didn't get enough of a view of the other characters, whether from their actions or from the protagonist thoughts about their actions, to make them entirely real.
Civil Mechanisms
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Apr 23, 2013
Caleb Ross
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Jul 25, 2011
Brandon Tietz
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Jun 13, 2011
Sam
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Apr 09, 2014
Civil Mechanisms
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Jul 07, 2014
Martin Garrity
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Mar 29, 2012
Christopher
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Jun 10, 2018
Artistically Declined Press
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Apr 14, 2012
Dave Newman
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Jul 17, 2013
James Goertel
rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2011
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Ben Tanzer, AM, is an Emmy-award winning coach, creative strategist, podcaster, writer, teacher and social worker who has been helping nonprofits, publishers, authors, small business and career changers tell their stories for 20 years.