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Father of the Rain

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,023 ratings  ·  583 reviews
Prize-winning author Lily King's masterful new novel spans three decades of a volatile relationship between a frighteningly charismatic, alcoholic father and the daughter who cannot help but love him.
Gardener Amory is a New England WASP who is beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is about to be impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly
Hardcover, First edition , 354 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published July 1st 2010)
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Monica Yes, Gardiner was drunk and blocked Daley's attempt to open the door for Barbara. When he blocked her, Daley was seriously injured.

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  4,023 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Oh brother, here I am again, sitting all by myself. Don't listen to me, I’m Debbie Downer. Everyone thinks this book is the greatest thing since sliced bread—yeah, sliced bread is pretty great but not if it's Wonder Bread, all soft and fluffy and bland. No thanks. Gag. As I’m reluctantly chewing on this Wonder Bread, I wonder how King could write such a plain-jane story and also write the beauteous Euphoria? I couldn't wait to read this, all a-glow after Euphoria. What a letdown!

This is the
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story started with a strong heart beat then somewhere in the middle, flatlined. There were a few desperate beats thereafter, but alas, it was too late. After having loved Euphoria, I was thrilled to find Lily King had written other novels. Sadly, this one just didn't measure up. And although King's powerful writing style was evident, the story couldn’t sustain itself. It started off with 12 year old Daley becoming a child of divorce. She adores her father who is a strongly opinionated, ...more
B the BookAddict
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mish, Dale

This is the honest and painful story of the tumultuous deterioration of a father-daughter's relationship after divorce; seen at three stages in the daughter's life. Richard Russo said this was was haunting and it truly is. It's vivid and it's painful.

Gardiner Amory is a WASP and, in my opinion, a 'controlled' alcoholic. As he drinks, he goes through all the expected manifestations; he's funny, spiteful, mean and then sleepy. His world is turned upside down when his wife leaves him, taking
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book, favorites
This book was such a surprise. This is a fascinating, perceptive and skillfully written view of a love/hate relationship between an alcoholic father and his only daughter, Daley. She narrates the story told in three sections starting with Nixon’s impeachment to the present day election of President Obama.

To the author’s credit, it never comes across as a moralistic primer for Al-Anon. It was quite dramatic with textured characterizations so real that even Gardiner Amory, Daley’s alcoholic and
Julie Christine
Father of the Rain begins with Nixon's resignation in 1974 and ends with Obama's election in 2008. Those epic, touchstone moments of American culture bookend this intimate epic of an American family, representing both the failure and potential of those whom we mount on impossibly high pedestals.

Daley Amory is eleven when her mother, weary of her husband's philandering and filled with a sense of possibility that the fiery political landscape allowed women at the time, takes Daley and moves out.
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015, bookclub
"Once upon a time a beautiful lady lived with a handsome man in a big house near the sea. They had two lovely children, a boy and a girl. But the beautiful lady was not happy, and one day she took the little girl and all the jewelry and disappeared."(no spoiler here)

This is the story of Daley's life, her turbulently dysfunctional family and her love and loyalty towards her affluent, often inebriated, prejudice and, at times, abusive father.

Initially, I really did have my doubts about this novel,

Nandakishore Varma
I loved this book by Lily King. Had I written a review at the time I finished it, it would have been very detailed and would have explored the nuances of this finely crafted novel and its exquisite writing. But it was a hectic period of my life and I could not do it, so now I will have to make do with a quickie, just to leave my impressions.

I love it when the macrocosm is analysed from within the microcosm. Here, the tale of the two Americas - the liberal, intellectual and self-righteous one and
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I almost stopped reading after the first page, because it begins in a car with a girl, her new puppy, and her crazy drunk dad. I thought, it's the Chekhov's Gun Rule, and by page 80 the dad's going to drown the puppy in the swimming pool and ruin my week. But I soldiered on and: THE PUPPY IS OK. I REPEAT, THE PUPPY IS OK. And this book is SO wonderful -- sad, grueling, funny, relatable, and (once you stop worrying about the puppy) absolutely impossible to put down.
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2010
It's been a long time since I've sobbed in a book and it's been since never that I've put the book down 10 pages from the end to do a Soduko puzzle because I didn't want it to end. I can't even explain why this book so deeply affected me. It's about a woman and her very complicated relationship with her father, spanning several decades. I have a great, easy relationship with my own father so it's not that I could relate. But somehow these characters really pulled me in. I loved all of them - ...more
Ron Charles
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Meetings conducted by Al-Anon, the support group for family members of alcoholics, begin with some variant of this greeting, woven from solidarity and sorrow: "We who live, or have lived, with the problem of alcoholism understand as perhaps few others can." What grim knowledge these spouses and children harbor, forced into the contradictory roles of nurse, defender and victim. The proliferation of survivor memoirs and their popular auxiliaries -- the Redbook feature, the Oprah episode, the ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daley spends most of her young life mediating between her divorced parents and later dealing with her father Gardener Amory, a rich, womanizing , alcoholic ,who exposes his family to way too many adult situations.
Sana Abdulla
A daughter tip toeing around her alcoholic sarcastic father has to deal with the breakup of her family when her mother takes her with her after the divorce. She has to endure her weekends with him and his new family.
I couldn't really understand his character very well, but I could understand the child's need to have his attention and approval.
The father daughter relationship seemed to say more about the daughter's inadequacy than the father. She was the one who couldn't stay away.
Not bad not
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age
Years ago, I sent out a birthday invitation with the theme, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” Funny – or so I thought.

But for Daley Amory, the main character of Lily King’s poignant and at times heartbreaking Father of the Rain, those words are anything but funny. We meet her as an 11-year-old, torn between the liberal and do-good world of her mother and the conservative, erratic, liquor-soaked world of her charismatic and arrogant father. A WASP of the first-degree – rich,
I would have very easily given the first part of Father of the Rain a high 4 star rating. The book begins during Daley's childhood years, as she struggles with facing her parents' divorce. This first section is painful to read, but feels true. 11-year old Daley struggles to understand why her world is falling apart, her separation for her father and the fact that he now has a new family. No matter what he's done, no matter that he is an alcoholic, self-absorbed, self-destructive and everything ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I tried to read this, and left it just after the half way point. I'm been encouraged to rate it, regardless. I was reluctant until I thought about why I left this. I enjoyed Euphoria. It was primarily because this "Father of the Rain" book was so much "not my cuppa" that I thought I didn't have anything pertinent to say, but as I just wrote, I was encouraged. She's right, I need to review it. This does happen to me about 10% of the time with moderns. But often I will list it on my abandoned ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grace Horne
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gentleman by day, monster by night, Gardiner Amory battles alcoholism while his daughter, Daley, struggles to find her place in his life. Lily King writes Father of the Rain (2010) in an all too realistic style with the intent to captivate the reader’s head and heart. Her writing fits perfectly in the third wave of feminism both in time period and theme of empowerment. While not wholly devoted to feminist values, Father of the Rain gives a glimpse into the life of a woman struggling to free ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sept-oct-2010
Critics loved Father of the Rain, describing it as an honest, elegant, and unflinching look at alcoholism and family dysfunction. They also marveled at King's ability to portray Gardiner (described by the Boston Globe as a cross between Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, and Jack Nicholson) in a sympathetic light despite his many flaws. The Seattle Times reviewer, in the minority, disagreed, noting that the interaction between father and daughter lacked complexity. But perhaps many interactions ...more
Dori Ostermiller
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. A gorgeous, heart-wrenching but never sentimental journey through the agony of dysfunctional family love. The story begins as a coming of age story, set within a Nixon-era marital split (pretty familiar territory for me!) and then takes a couple of big jumps in time, eventually covering the entire span of Daley's complicated, compelling and fraught relationship with her impossible, magnetic father--an alcoholic relic from New England conservative aristocracy. Daley yearns ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Started out strong but then it seemed to drag.
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
This portrait of a broken family, narrated by the daughter, is compelling and beautifully written. The author's decision to devote the first section of the book to "Daley's" perspective as an eleven-year-old is very smart: the hurts and indignities haven't been faded by time, and readers will feel an abiding compassion for Daley that will carry them through the later sections--otherwise, they might be exasperated by the adult Daley.
Speaking of exasperation, I have to admit that I felt a little
Matt Smith
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's always good to see Maine authors receive mainstream attention and when Lily King's Father of the Rain was featured as an Oprah Book Club choice for summer reading in 2010 I knew it had to be special; if you're thinking, "Is she related to Stephen King?" — no; there are other authors in Maine besides him.

Father of the Rain carries us through Daley Armory's life starting at age 11 when her parents tumutulous marriage dissolves and young Daley must share time between the two. The book is split
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lily King is one of my new favorite authors; I loved Euphoria and I absolutely loved this book as well.

Amazon describes Father of the Rain as "Father of the Rain is a spellbinding journey into the emotional complexities and magnetic pull of family"; I could not agree more. This book left me full and satisfied.

There's an emotional heft to this book which take place in New England at a time when Nixon is being impeached and an 11 year old girl watches her martini fueled father streak across their
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
This is going in the couldn't finish file.I got to page fifty and that was as far as I could go.
The book chronicles the life of a young girl's complicated relationship with her alcoholic father, starting in the early seventies, on through her adulthood.
All I could get was that both her parents needed a reality check and a trip to AA, and her older brother was a complete ass.
Flipping my way through the remainder of the book, I saw more of what I had already seen.
I'm glad this was a library book.
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Daley Gardner is eleven years old when her mother decides to leave her alcoholic father. The story revolves around three periods of Daley’s life following her parent’s bitter divorce: child of an alcoholic, adult child of an alcoholic and adult recovering from the effects of alcoholism.

Amazing, intense and insightful. I occasionally had to stop reading to relax my muscles and remind myself to breathe. Highly recommend.

Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
The first section dealing with Daley's childhood was brilliantly done. Wee written and really good sense of her perspective. The rest felt a bit more pat, but this was still a worthwhile read. I would give it 3 1/2 stars.
Lacey Byrne
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written. Characters well established and realistic. Simple story - in depth relationship between a daughter and father. A great piece of fiction that relies on characters, descriptions, relationships, human emotion.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every Lily King book I read tears out my heart and makes me feel more fully alive at the same time.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this book I find pretentious, but I did not let it put me off reading it, because I have read her other books and they are all excellent. This one is well written and skilfully portrays the sense of dread a child (or adult child) feels dealing with a volatile alcoholic parent. The book is very absorbing, at least for me, and the time jumps are handled well. Recommended.
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Lily King grew up in Massachusetts and received her B.A. in English Literature from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has taught English and Creative Writing at several universities and high schools in this country and abroad. Lily's new novel, Euphoria, was released in June 2014. It has drawn significant acclaim so far, ...more
“Narrative is the way to communicate ideas. Philosophy just tastes bad to most people unless you wrap it up in a good story.” 1 likes
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