BIG SHOES: In Celebration of Dads and Fatherhood

Al Roker, Author, Amy Rennert, Author, And Friends, Author , edited by Amy Rennert. Hyperion $26.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0171-2

This collection of honest, straightforward examinations of fathers is sweet and well-meaning, though sometimes overwhelming in its sentiment. It shares father-child remembrances—of seeing movies together, eating sandwiches together, singing show tunes in the pool together—from Roker and other celebrities and quasi-celebrities, including actor B.D. Wong, NPR's Nina Totenberg, singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt, wine maker Robert Mondavi and Roker's Today Show buddies Katie Couric, Ann Curry and Matt Lauer. Nearly every essay explores fatherhood from the point of view of a son or daughter, though the Daily Show 's Jon Stewart explains it from a dad's standpoint. The key to paternity, he says, is low expectations: "I just hope that when I look at [my young son], he doesn't cry. In that sense, I've already achieved my goal." Donald Trump's one-pager reveals that his father taught him to "be responsible," while many other stories pertain to dad's encouragement, like LPGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott's tale of how her pops taught her "everything was possible." Indeed, the book brims with happy memories, although there's the occasional regretful remembrance, too. In the final piece, Roker reminds readers that when dad's no longer here, it's up to his kids to fill his "Big Shoes" and keep walking. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/18/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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