About a week ago, I told you to stay tuned to see whether The Bill from My Father was one of the memoirs that would stand out for me. I unfortunately must report that it is not.
I think I have memoir fatigue. I’ve read so many from my mom’s list and beyond that it now takes something special for a memoir to capture my attention. The Bill from My Father did not have that something special.
Bernard Cooper’s book revolves around his dad Edward. We are to believe he is a stubborn yet charming man. Much more of the stubbornness comes through, though, than the charm. That’s not to say Edward isn’t a complicated and interesting man. He is and I can see why his son would be so taken with the enigma that is his father. However, as someone not related, I found it less captivating. Edward came across as elusive, but also mostly as an obstinate, crotchety old man. (I’ve always wanted to use the words crotchety!)
I feel for Bernard and his lifelong attempt to understand and connect with his father. He writes about his life and the lives of his family with such eloquence. And some moments do shine. When, as the title implies, Edward sends Bernard a bill for his childhood totaling $2 million dollars, you have to enjoy the eccentricity. There just wasn’t enough of those moments to make me enjoy the book as a whole.
Since this is someone’s real life, though, I feel so bad saying that. I’m not criticizing the life, but rather the entertainment value.