A review of Jayne Martin’s Daddy Chronicles by Jonathan Cardew

by | May 18, 2022 | Bending Genres, Blog, Microviews, News, Reviews

Less is more, so they say. But more what? 

In Jayne Martin’s case: more devastating, more incisive, more insightful. 

This book is a case in point. Through 37 bite-sized chapters, each about 100-300 words, Martin recounts her experiences growing up without a father. From a baby desperately seeking the attention of a distracted, TV-watching dad to a young teen seeking the affection of a crush, everything is colored by this absence: 

“Mom’s a silk suit woman. He’s a blue collar guy. He has dirt under his fingernails, but he brings her his check every week. His boots track in mud, but they’re there. They’re always there. His only really fault is that he’s not my dad.”

Sadness pervades this book, but only in flashes, only in moments. Martin metes out a heavy subject matter with the most clinical prose—sentences clipped, scenes ending on a knife edge. Omission is an appropriate vehicle for absence. In micros, we dip and dive through the years, never quite landing on resolution because, well, that’s impossible. 

My favorite part of this book concerns the author’s first name: Jayne. I won’t give too much away, but I will say this: a letter can make a huge difference. 

And Martin makes every letter and word and comma and period count. 

Find out more about Jayne’s book here: The Daddy Chronicles by Jayne Martin

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