"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Fran Lewis: Just Reviews On Kenneth Atchity's "Heartfelt Autobiography" My Obit: Daddy Holding Me


Just Reviews


A child is born, and he should be loved and embraced. A child is born and should be welcomed into his family. A child is born and instead is shunned, cast aside and made to feel he does not exist. A child fears crowds and hides under his bed when company comes. Even his name was not truly the first thought on their mind as the proper namesake for him. A father who called him an entity and pushed him away. 

My Obit: Daddy Holding Me: Kenneth Atchity:
one man’s journey to find who he is. Dealing with his parents created stress and demanding situations and then his kindergarten teacher creates more. The difficulties and hardships a young child faces and must try and make life alerting changes that create conflict, and courage to find out who he really is, dealing with family posed rules and self-imposed expectations to turn into the person he hopes to be one day. 

Throughout the memoir the author shares his emotional upheavals dealing with his father, his impatience and his critiques of his friendships, his orientations and even educational goals. Meeting a Jesuit Priest and learning from him calling him Ziggy helped to define him in many ways. Sharing defining moments that most of us would not exactly want to remember, different issues with different instructors in many schools and then looking beyond that having to find his own way in the world, finding self-worth and his own way to look in the mirror and see himself for who he really is, took courage. Some stories are more powerful than others and some create an autobiography of a life that was filled with many hurdles, many unfortunate incidents, pleasures and a life that in the present has taken much from his past. 

Some journeys are never ending and dealing with his family, their attitudes, his parents and how his father treated him and self-imposed restrictions in the end was quite courageous. Hoping the learn in his own heart his father’s true feelings for him, did he really love you and he shares his life, opens his heart, and of course his family recipes that he is able to duplicate and more. The past/present/future all in one. 

The author tells the story in his own voice and the one about Tata’s Beans is inspirational and the one about double entry brings back memories. The story about his aunt’s grape leaves and the one about double entry proved how enterprising he can be. Dad gave him silver dollars, his uncle's extra money and he bought himself another ledger like his father's and kept it under his mattress to keep track of the actual expenditures and incomes. As he stated two different stories told with numbers. Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Tony provided two heartwarming and interesting stories. Jimmy was his intellectual role model and Tony different. Always trying to please his dad he includes a letter talking about his job working at Junior’s store and how much he earned. Always wanting him to be proud of him. The second section is my favorite focusing on his career choices, major in college and writing and editing as his direction. Losing his grandfather took a toll on him and the family and the picture on 179 highlights it all. His family seemed very diversified in the dishes they made, and Tata’s squash sounds great, and it’s followed by the corporate waiting room. So many facets of his life, so many people that impacted his choices and yet you can tell there is a certain darkness hanging over him when he thinks about his father. He just wants him to be proud of him. 

As the stories continue the author delves into the many careers he decided upon, from writer and editor to movie producer and owner of a corporation and more. Each endeavor with its own pluses and drawbacks plus the emotional upheavals and changes. But throughout you can feel the tension within himself and his family dynamics plus the stories he relates about himself and his father. Each of his accomplishments are summarized at the end and yet does he ever realize that his father accepted him in his own way. The interesting interviews, imagine being interviewed by Dr. Joyce Brothers, meeting Dominick Dunne and Bruno from Dancing with the stars. Allowing us to attend his father’s funeral and hearing his voice and that of his family. Proud of his children and finding the photo that is on the cover and its meaning. Along the way he changes jobs, gets scholarships and is teaching but that was not to be permanent. Added in he shares special moments in time and the epilogue sums it up plus the poems that help express his emotions. Then he sees something that might bring it all into perspective a telegram that says: We are all immensely proud of your election as new editor of the Hoya: Congratulations. Imagine thinking his father is proud and then there are many other Kenny Letters that he finds. From Yale to Occidental College to pursuing this as a second career, editing producing and publishing and teaching through the years there are so many changes within himself and his life. The filing of the corporation and the Certificate of Incorporation just one surprise that he finds but there are more as he delves into the corporate binder before the first recorded minutes were two documents. 

The author shares that on page 283. The many celebrities and their photos plus the final revelation about his father’s feelings and realizing that he is truly a success within himself and to others. An inspirational autobiography taken within his own timelines and flashbacks to help readers understand his relationships with family and friends. I loved the cooking recipes and the fact that his aunts were so special to him. Author Kenneth Atchity: your words are profound, your story hits home in many respects and your successes will always be there and your father’s photo will remind you that your Dad is always going to HOLD YOU UP!  

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