As a fan of the young adult genre, I’ve come to realize that Good Dads are REALLY hard to find in YA. Half the time they are dead. Most of the time they are non-existent and another portion of the time, they are abusive, sadistic or exploitative. Going Disney’s way they are usually clueless and diminished, if they are alive – I guess that is better then sadistic or dead. So, when I come across a good dad in a YA novel, you gotta embrace them….and give them some props.
1. Charlie Swan – Father of Bella Swan in the Twilight series.
Yeah I’m going to go there, but he happens to be one of the best dads that I’ve come across in YA literature. Unlike most of the fathers in the young adult genre he is hands on and takes a very strong interest in his daughter’s life. Not to mention Bella’s devotion to him. Top that with Billy Burke’s movie representation. Win. Win. He is a counterpart to Bella’s clueless and diminished mother and while at times it seems Bella is parenting Charlie, he does try and take a strong roll in a very paranormal plot that he has very little control over.
2. Arthur Weasley – Father of Ron and psuedo step-father of Harry Potter.
Also a favorite father, while quirky and sometimes portrayed as dense, he was a good roll-model to Harry. His blind pursuit of right no matter the consequences, putting his family and his own life at risk was sometimes frightening but it showed strength.
3. Matthew Cuthburt from Anne of Greene Gables.
Uncle Matthew and his sister adopted Anne and as the man slowly came to love Anne, as a reader I realized that you didn’t necessarily have to be a birth father to take on that roll in life. While I read this book as a young child it was a turning point in my mind, helping me balance the idea of parents, fathers and the roll they play in our lives. Which is still something that I deal with today. Deep for a nine year old, but it shows what great literature and characters can do for our lives.
4. Andy and Nathan, Lola’s dads from LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.
A gay couple, raising a head-strong teen girl can’t be easy, but they make it awesome. I loved this couple and loved them as fathers.
5. Mr. Murray – From A WRINKLE IN TIME.
Even though most of the book Mr. Murray is missing and it is because of his own scientific research that he got himself in a predicament that his own children had to save him, Mr. Murray was a smart stand-up kind of dad. I loved that Meg stood by her father no matter what and that Mr. Murray treated Meg like a gem, even though she was awkward a lot of the time and made sure to praise her and encourage her.
I would have loved for this to have been a top ten list, but unfortunately the list is small in YA…I could have propagated it with classic father’s like Mr. Bennet and Atticus Finch but I usually don’t consider those YA titles, even though I read them for the first time when I was a young adult.
Who are your favorite literary fathers? And do you find we need more great dads in YA literature?