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Ann Widdecombe Father Figure
I thoroughly enjoy Ann Widdecombe's books so I was looking forward to read another one of her books. I find her books so well written and enjoyable to read.
There is a thirty two year old teacher who's called Jason Kirk who was married and happily so he thought. When he came back home after being out all day from teaching he found that his wife and his two children had gone- she had left him. She had not only taken the children but also had filled the car with alot of her belongings before her husband returned back from work.
So Jason had to cope with all the stresses of only being able to visit his children by arrangement. The hassle of coping with the Child Support Agency. He thinks that he is alone just facing this but he soon discovers that some of his friends and colleagues are also facing similar situations so he does find comfort from that.
It addresses some issues in which fathers could face when they are separated from their children. The difficulties in obtaining access and seeing their children on a regular basis.
This book does show insight of how fatherhood is like in the modern world of ours and it does give food for thought on this topic.
Also her insight on how the children react to the situation and how they are coping with having their parents separated only seeing their father not on a daily basis.
I like the way Ann manages to write about the characters in a way which you can relate to an understand what they are expericiencing and coping with. The great depth of her research in general family issues is good and certainly puts it down on paper in way that is easy and thought provoking..
If you want a book that is easy but gets you thinking to read then you cannot go far wrong with 'Father Figure' or any of her other books.
I'll be honest - I was curious to read this because of whom the author was; no, she's not the first MP to foray into novel writing, but I was intrigued as to how her efforts would measure up compared to works by the likes of Edwina Currie, Boris Johnson and Jeffrey Archer.
I was very pleasantly surprised.
Jason Kirk returns home from work one day to find that his wife Kat has left him, taking with her their two young children and as many of their belongings as she can cram into her car. This is completely out of the blue; there have been no arguments, no threats, no domestic unrest and no infidelities to unsettle their marriage. Jason is used to fighting the corner of some of the deprived and neglected children at the school where he teaches but now he finds himself battling with the system, namely the CSA, and embroiled in visitation conflicts with his conniving and devious wife as he desperately tried to get access to his children.
Talking to his colleagues, Jason finds he is far from alone in this situation but this is little consolation as he feels he is drifting further and further out of the lives of Jake, aged 8, and Leah, aged just 3 years old.
In many ways I found this a harrowing read. I was utterly frustrated by the position that Jason found himself in. Here was a man, devoted to his family, having them torn from him, with every possible obstacle placed in his way to prevent him from seeing them. He is perplexed by his wife and her sudden decision to overturn all their lives with no real explanation other than perhaps an apparent low boredom threshold.
The bureaucracy of the authorities and the crippling legal expenses that Jason suffered seemed inherently unfair (but realistic in all probability), and I was silently cheering him on when he finally reached the end of his tether in the CSA offices and "went off on one".
Kat, his wife, the mother of his children, is painted as the most devious and underhand woman I can imagine. I applaud Widdecombe for getting inside the head of such a character and painting such a cruel but utterly feasible individual. Devoid of any sympathy of the position she has forced her husband into, she seems almost unable to understand why he is so determined to still feature in the lives of their children. A "clean break" would be so much better for all according to her.
Willing to manipulate anyone for her own means, the children and her own parents included, she has an endless supply of tricks and schemes to frustrate Jason's attempts to spend regular quality time with his Jake and Leah.
I really hope I never have the misfortune to meet anyone like Kat in real life.
After reading this book, I can understand, to a certain extent anyway, the desperate plight of fathers, who through no fault of their own, find themselves deprived of their children by both their ex-partner and the authorities. It really did make me question the justice of the law, which really does seem to favour the mother, regardless of the circumstances. (Please note, I do understand that in many, many cases that this has to be the case in order to protect the best interests and safe-being of the children (and often that of their mother too))
Widdecombe writes very well, her characterisation development is excellent and the book flows very nicely with no real weak points in the plot at all. It is not overly descriptive but concentrates more on the emotions and events affecting the principle characters.
If the measure of a good book is one that stirs up your emotions and gets you thinking, then this ticked all the boxes. I felt anger, frustration, sorrow and even hatred. Although not a page-turner like many of the thrillers and crime-based books that I tend to favour, I did find that I was anxious to discover the outcome for Jason. I felt the book concluded very nicely too - I felt satisfied at the end, as though I had just finished a good meal!
After reading this I will certainly be looking out for more of Widdecombe's literary offering.
Published by Orion
From 1p + P&P on Amazon, or free from your local library!