Literary Dads We Love

"We're the safest folks in the world," said Miss Maudie. "We're so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us." —Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

When it comes to dads, Tracy and I hit the jackpot. Big time. We could each write an ode to our fathers' gentle strength, immense kindness, larger-than-life hearts, and their way of being the calm in every storm. They've set the bar high, so it takes quite a man, fictional or not, to impress us. Here are a few literary dads who made the cut:

Atticus Finch. Of course. The Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird, that is. Hopefully you skipped Go Set a Watchman and spared yourself the heartache of seeing one of literature's greatest father figures besmirched. Clearly, I have strong feelings on the subject. You can read them here.

The Book Thief's Hans Hubermann, whose love for Liesel proves fatherhood is not bound by flesh and blood. This passage about Hans appearing each night to chase Liesel's demons away says all you need to know about him: "Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man's gentleness, his thereness. The girl knew from the outset that Hans Hubermann would always appear midscream, and he would not leave."

Jeremiah Land from Peace Like a River. “Many a night I woke to the murmur of paper and knew (Dad) was up, sitting in the kitchen with frayed King James - oh, but he worked that book; he held to it like a rope ladder.”

The Bartender's Tale's Tom Harry. "...he added up to be the best human being there ever was. [And] the absolute best father of all time, in ways I could count....[As] peculiar a pair as we made, the bachelor saloonkeeper with a streak of frost in his black pompadour and the inquisitive boy who had been an accident between the sheets, in the end I would not have traded by involuntary parent for a more standard model."

I'm sure there are more. I'm already fretting about leaving out Jean Valjean and Ordinary Grace's Nathan Drum. Did I forget one of your favorites? And of course the moment calls for a shout out to some of literature's worst: King Lear and Harry Wormwood immediately come to mind. Happy Father's Day! (I sure miss you, Dad.)

Posted by Rachel