Why Are Literary Father/Fatherly Figures So Lacking? (no offense)

Short answer: I don’t know.

Long answer: I really don’t know.

I noticed a reoccurring theme in books (especially in YA and middle grade). The main character is at least missing a dad. I went through all the books I’ve read over the years (the ones I remember, that is) and I could only find a handful that had both their parents that actually cared for them.

Why is that?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not a writer. Actually, I’m probably the farthest you can get from a writer (other than the fact that I write a blog). Huh. Maybe I am a writer.

But I don’t write stories. I write my thoughts down, sure, but not stories.

So I thought of some of the reasons why it’s so common that a main character doesn’t have a good father.










1) He did have a good father, but he’s dead – Harry Potter
2) He has a good father, but he dies – Steelheart (that’s not a spoiler, I promise)
3) He has an abusive stepfather that stinks in order to mask his demigod scent – Percy Jackson
4) He has a father that can’t be around because he’s a god – Percy Jackson

— Percy, your life sucks, bro —

5) He doesn’t know who his father is – Carry On
6) She has a father, but he’s abusive – Shatter Me
7) His father is power-hungry – Throne of Glass
8) Her fatherly figure (which is a very generous name) hates her – White Hot Kiss
9) His dad is basically a serial killer – (I’m not going to put in a title because spoilers!)
10) You get the idea.

I have a couple ideas why authors continually omits fathers/parents in general from their stories.

1) If one parent is absent, the other parent is too busy trying to support the family to be around much. This means the main character can get away with a lot of things he does. It’s not that the single parent doesn’t care, it’s just that he/she is too busy. No parent in their right mind would let their kid travel around the world trying to fufill a prophecy that an old skeleton-ish lady told him. No offense.
2) If the character is an orphan, then the author has free range on letting the character do whatever he/she pleases because there’s no one to stop him from going out to slay some dragons.
3) angst.
4)  Angst.

However, there are a select few books where the main character has a good relationship with his/her dad (who is still alive), and the story was still amazing. See, you don’t not need a dad in order to make a good story.

Here’s a few of my favorites:

1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

2) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

The main character is each of the stories had a good relationship with their dads, and the story was still great. Heck, I might go as far as saying their relationship enhances the story more.

More importantly, our relationship with our own father/fatherly figure enhances our own lives. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of my dad. I know that sounds kind of cliché, but it’s so true. I can’t put in words how thankful I am for my dad but…

Happy Father’s Day!


2 thoughts on “Why Are Literary Father/Fatherly Figures So Lacking? (no offense)

  1. Ashleigh 06/19/2016 / 9:31 pm

    I feel like there’s way too many books out there that don’t have a family unit. BUT it does mean I notice it so much more when they’re there. I love the father – well, there’s two – in Lola and the Boy Next Door. I just finished it yesterday, so it was just it time for father’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

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