Father-child Relationships in Literature


Last Mother’s Day, I wrote about mother-daughter relationships in YA and thought it only fair that I write a Father’s Day post also. I have previously mentioned how there is often a lack of good parent-child relationships in YA – the parents are either deceased, MIA or have a bad relationship with their child. Again, it was tricky coming up with a number of books which I have read that feature father-child relationships; I have managed to compile a short list and feel free to let me know of books that aren’t on my list.

  • Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird  (Harper Lee) – What sort of Father’s Day list would this be without Atticus Finch? TKaM is one of my favourites! I’ve always thought that if there were more people like Atticus Finch, then the world would be a better place.
  • .Will Wests’ dad from The Paladin Prophecy  (Mark Frost) – I read this book a while ago, which I was given in a pile of books that I received from my generous friend Asti and I loved it – well, its been a while, as I said, but I remember loving it. The third installment will be published in September of this year and it feels like its taken for EVER! What I remember is that I loved the characters – they each had their own personality. What I also remember is the list that Will’s dad developed to deal with any situation in life and this is something that he and his father shared. They are a list of rules Will lived by and they helped him survive – it was almost like he always had a piece of his dad with him. From what I remember – I suffer from book amnesia – his dad wasn’t perfect, but no-one is; he, along with his wife kept a big secret from Will, but they were trying to protect him.
  • Mr Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austin) – Ooh, a second classic on my list. It has been sooo long since I read this book and I remember the movie more…but how different can they be? Right? What I recall is that Mr Bennet was way less overbearing than his wife, Mrs Bennet and was sweet in that he cared about what Elizabeth wanted. A father whom isn’t controlling and actually cares about what his daughter wants is a winner in my books.
  • Ben and Cillian from the ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy (Patrick Ness) – I’m so glad I got to include a Ness book. After Todd’s parents died, Ben and Cillian raised Todd. Although not his biological parents, they were the closest Todd had to parents. He always got on better with Ben, but Cillian although he had trouble showing it, loved Todd and made a huge sacrifice for him. They couldn’t tell Todd everything for fear of someone finding out, so had to keep some secrets but I loved how Ben loved Todd as his own and did his best to guide him.
  • Hans from The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) – Hans is Liesel’s foster father and he is a caring and sweet man. I love their relationship and this. Book. Made. Me. Sob. He teaches her to read and buys her books when he can afford it – so of course he makes the list.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone celebrating tomorrow!

They’re not really all YA titles, but hey, the title says “literature” not YA. Again, feel free to list books that aren’t on my list in the comments. Have you read any of these books? Tell me: do you like it when parents are present in books you read?


8 thoughts on “Father-child Relationships in Literature

  1. I love Mr. Bennet! Anyone from that time period who supports his daughter’s love of books is wonderful. 🙂 I read To Kill A Mockingbird so long ago that I have zero memory of the characters or plot. Oops…

    It also drives me crazy how rare “good” parents are in YA. I know that there are people in real life with awful parents, but YA would lead you to believe that no parents anywhere care about their kids or set any sort of boundaries for them. I think it’s unfair to the millions of parents who DO try their hardest for the kids, and who I believe are in the majority.

    That being said, there are some YA parents who are awesome! I read My Life Next Door earlier this year, and while the MC’s mom was one of the most infuriating characters, the love interest’s parents were awesome. (There was a really impressive sex talk scene with the boy and his dad, so extra points for that.) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens features two very present parents (have you read that yet?), and Saint Anything also has a set (although again, the MC’s own parents are just infuriating). I think Cath’s dad in Fangirl should get some credit, because even though he has his own personal struggles, it’s evident how much he loves his girls, and he truly makes an effort to be better for them. I know there must be more (right? maybe? no?), but those are the ones that I’ve read most recently.


    1. Are you planning on reading Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman? It’s quite exciting because its been so long since the first.

      Yes, I think we really need a balance in YA when it comes to different types of parents, and I’m not so sure that has been achieved yet. I haven’t actually heard of My Life Next Door – I’ll have to look it up. No, sadly I haven’t read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens yet; I have heard such good things, so I really hope to read it at some point. I haven’t read Saint Anything either… Oh no… I’m lacking here, and I thought I was doing so well 😀 Oh, how I love Fangirl! Yes, he really loves his girls and was really trying to do his best.

      I know, right? Surely there’s more.


      1. Yes! I haven’t even read the description, but I don’t care, haha. I already have it on hold at my library. (Of course, I’m number 300-and-something, but I guess I’ll get it eventually!) I haven’t seen the UK cover, but I love the American one.

        Well at least we’ve got Fangirl in common. 😀


  2. Oh what a lovely post!! I love how Mr. Bennet always does what he think is right for his children above all. He couldn’t care less about propriety and status and decorum, he wants his children to be happy first and foremost. I love to see that. Hans!! STOP I’M GOING TO CRY. *cue downpour of tears* He was so supportive and helped her learn to read. His attentiveness and kindness and his unconditional love make him a favorite of mine. Atticus teaches his children some powerful themes. He’s a great role model who shows them to stand up for what’s right and not to back down from any challenge. Amazing post!


    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! 🙂 Yes, that’s what I love about Mr Bennet. He doesn’t care about what is the norm and is considered proper, what’s most important to him is his daughter’s happiness. Haha, let the tears out. Hans is incredible! And Atticus is indeed an excellent role model for his children.

      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂


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