This is my first book review for a 2010 imprint. In fact, this book came out in May and I finished reading it on May 31, yet the calendar will show June 1 by the time I post this. C’mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark is Ryan Knighton’s second memoir, written after the birth of his daughter, Tess. (I reviewed Knighton’s Cockeyed: a memoir in April.) In his latest book, Knighton writes of his experiences as a blind father raising a daughter.
C’mon Papa is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the conception, where Knighton’s wife Tracy suffers a miscarriage as a result of a molar pregnancy. Tracy goes through chemotherapy and the Knightons must wait a year before trying again to conceive. The second part is about the birth and Knighton’s trials with an infant. The third part deals with blind life with a two-year-old. I did not find this story as funny as Cockeyed, although it still was a book I couldn’t put down. Knighton writes of his failures at diaper-changing and baby-minding. After a heavy snowfall, Knighton loses his daughter while they are playing outside and there is a sense of panic that infects the reader until they are reunited. More tales of near-disaster, or even near-death, are included. The toughest time for Knighton is trying to care for Tess while she is a baby. It gets easier for him when she is a toddler since she, even at the age of two, can walk and see and lead her father around.
Unfortunately I missed seeing Ryan at an author appearance in Toronto while I was in Halifax in early May. It would have been a pleasure to meet him; even more so now that I have read his latest memoir.