David J. Brown
Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/15)
In “Daddy Had to Say Goodbye” author David J. Brown takes you along the path of Clinton Flanagan, from his abusive, neglected childhood, through his battles with PTSD, depression and addiction, and finally to a path of peace. Clinton’s childhood was very painful to follow. Neglectful, alcoholic, and abusive parents made him feel unworthy and unloved. Watching an ill brother get all of the love and attention was very painful for him. This set the stage for him to suffer abuse by women who were selfish pedophiles.
Not having a healthy relationship to learn from, Clinton finds himself struggling through many poor relationships. The losses are always painful, and in hindsight, Clinton sees where he let some wonderful women down. His addictions and emotional detachment played a huge role in these relationships ending. He also had some very stressful jobs including those of a paramedic and a police officer. While this work was meaningful, the stressful situations that he encountered on a daily basis did not help his mental health.
As Clinton goes through life, it takes a misdiagnosis to really wake him up and make amends to those he has hurt. This in turn allows him to start healing emotionally. Taken down to where he has almost nothing, Clinton begins to build himself back up from the inside out. There is meaningful closure in this story, and I suspect the character of Clinton will have some new chapters coming in a future book.
“Daddy Had to Say Goodbye,” was so poignant. The pain that this character suffered as a child was difficult to read, yet it explained how his childhood shaped his future. I liked that in spite of his imperfections, Clinton still sought to improve himself and have a meaningful life. In the midst of his depression and addiction, he still tried to make a difference for others. He also took responsibility for the failure of his relationships. As a woman who has been in relationships with men who were alcoholic, I learned a lot about why I should not have taken the failure of the relationships personally. I can see now how there is nothing that can be done when trying to love somebody who will not seriously seek help.
In addition to the addictions, this character also had to find ways to heal his relationships with his parents. For Clinton to move on and be whole, this was a must. Watching him struggle to find forgiveness and let go of the past was very difficult, yet rewarding in the end. Clinton had a great deal of losses in his life, and learning to move on from them was a lesson in itself. Learning about his parent’s childhoods gave him an understanding of why they were not able to be good parents. This in turn also helped him realize that he had to do a lot of healing before he could be a good parent and this is why, “Daddy Had to Say Goodbye.”
I highly recommend “Daddy Had to Say Goodbye” by David J. Brown.