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Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son | [Buzz Bissinger]

Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son

Buzz Bissinger’s twins were born three minutes—and a world—apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.
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Publisher's Summary

A remarkable memoir from the best-selling author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August.

Buzz Bissinger’s twins were born three minutes—and a world—apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He’ll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.

Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive father, he didn’t really understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to revisit all the places they have lived together during Zach’s twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son’s mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz's personal journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.

As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing that Zach’s worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of Zach’s twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kind—a man of excellent character.

©2012 Buzz Bissinger (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

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  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 08-01-12
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 08-01-12 Member Since 2010

    MTF

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    "An honest account of one "special" fatherhood"

    At the center of this nonfiction book is a cross-country trip where writer Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) drives from coast to coast with his handicapped adult son, Zach. Zach has a photographic memory and an obsession with maps. The author is brutally candid about his experience as the father of twins, one being mentally handicapped. Bissinger is not afraid to show his less-than-perfect side as he tries to deal with this unexpected fatherhood experience and a challenging trip. His honesty is what gives the memoir its power. Bissinger expertly weaves in stories from throughout their lives, and the book flows well. This book is funny and sad, and always real. Bissinger did a great job narrating. I enjoyed it a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah United States 05-23-12
    Deborah United States 05-23-12
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    "Moving, courageous story about father and son"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Father's Day to be better than the print version?

    I think the story is powerful in print, as well as audio. It is a father's journey to connect with and become close to his adult son with special needs. I heard the author interviewed by Emily Rooney, so I decided to get the audio book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I have two: the author Buzz who narrates this true story and his son who shows wisdom despite his mental age of 9/10 years old.


    Have you listened to any of Buzz Bissinger’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I will have to check them out.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A father's journey to connect with his son.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful, inspirational book. Thanks Buzz for so courageously sharing your family's story. I am going to recommend that our special education collaborative invite him to come speak to parents and special educators.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred J. Kamm AURORA, CO, United States 08-08-15
    Fred J. Kamm AURORA, CO, United States 08-08-15 Member Since 2013

    I'm a 75 year old fart who loves listening to a fine author, delivered by a really good narrator. I like bananas, too.

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    "This is the truest tale i have ever read."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Father's Day to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version, but it couldn't be any better. These people, Buzz and Zack, lived in the telling of their story. And I was right there with them. Buzz is not the most likable guy in the world, nor the best father. I know this because he told us the true story. I read this book after hearing a PBS interview of Buzz, in which he mentioned that he was disappointed that "Father's Day" had bombed. He was wrong. This is a beautiful, tough, true story of a father and son....bumps and all.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Father's Day?

    Listening to the many, humiliating episodes of Buzz falling apart and blowing up...blaming Zack for all that was wrong. I wanted to slap him back to sense...and i wanted to cry for them both.


    Which character – as performed by Buzz Bissinger – was your favorite?

    I don't see how any father could help but love Zack. Maybe I'm wrong about my limitation to fathers, but that's all I can speak to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No...I had to stop for hours to think about what i was reading; about what was really happening.. Therefor the book took me two days.


    Any additional comments?

    I read "Friday Night Lights" decades ago. I think it was a wonderful, epic, true story. I want more of Bissinger. I'm selfish that way. I'd like to read more about his life...leather and all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon M. Wilson Stafford Springs, CT USA 11-05-12
    Jon M. Wilson Stafford Springs, CT USA 11-05-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Heartwarming!"

    I quite enjoyed this memoir of the author and his developmentally delayed son. Very interesting and touching. An honest look at what it is like to parent a child with special needs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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