The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce

Author:

Tez Brooks

Publisher:

Kregel Publications

https://www.kregel.com

Publication Date:

February 27, 2015

Format:

Paperback

Length:

192 pages

OVERVIEW

Tez Brooks wasn’t sure what to do when it became clear his wife was leaving him. The divorce process was made even harder since he had to share custody of his two children, and had to figure out how to raise them over a period of years. Writing years afterward, with the benefit of hindsight and study, Brooks helps other divorced fathers find what they need to be good fathers in a difficult situation. He organizes the book into three sections:

  • Driver’s Education
  • Changing Lanes
  • Caution, Men at Work

In each one he considers things which single fathers need to know. He covers spiritual matters (including where men find their identity, how to take the “road less traveled” and follow Jesus’ example) and practical matters (including principles for cooking healthy, for decorating a home that isn’t a man cave that the kids camp out in). Each chapter ends with some reflection questions and activities.

As it’s clear from the description above, Brooks balances the practical and the spiritual throughout this book. Initially it seems like the book should primarily focus on the spiritual concerns, but the theological questions about divorce, single parenting and remarriage would really need to be a book by itself. Such a book would also probably be very abstract and scholarly, and at the end it would just be one of a multitude of books that have addressed the subject over the years. Brooks correctly recognizes that what many divorced fathers need isn’t a theological treatise, but something that gives them a Biblical foundation and then gets into the practical issues that they deal with every day. Since many divorced fathers are short on time and juggling various responsibilities, the book also needs to cover questions in a short, to-the-point style. Brooks’ use of car metaphors helps with this quick yet informative approach, phrasing ideas in a way that feels relatable to the average man.

However, many a Christian author has tried and failed to make this kind of book work. Some authors pick metaphors which initially seem like they’ll work and then fall apart after a few pages. Others don’t know how to transition from explaining a principle to giving an anecdote to illustrate the idea. Sometimes the anecdotes which the author thinks will perfectly capture an intended point just fall flat. What really sets The Single Dad Detour apart is that Brooks picks the right moving parts to make his book work, and has a writing style that makes those parts fit together well. He uses anecdotes which clearly illustrate what he’s trying to communicate. He uses car references in a way that’s simple enough that anyone can understand what he’s trying to say (even guys who aren’t particularly into cars). When he moves from metaphor or anecdote to explaining principles, the transitions feel seamless. These strengths make the book not only topical, but effective.

A highly helpful and enlightening book on being a good father in one of the hardest situations.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

4.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Single fathers (particularly divorced fathers) trying to navigate parenting from a Biblical perspective.

Christian Impact

While the author doesn’t give in-depth theological explanations about how Christians should view divorce, single parenting and remarriage, he does help single fathers understand some important Biblical principles which apply to their situations. In particular, he helps divorced fathers understand the need to know their identity in Christ, which does not change regardless of their situation or any mistakes they might have made. He also emphasizes the need to see when mercy, wisdom and restraint are needed, and to use them even though it isn’t easy.

The author also gets into questions about dating versus courtship, mostly in the context of single fathers considering re-marriage. The author leans toward a courtship model, which may sound restrictive and turn off readers familiar with Joshua Harris’ book I Kissed Dating Good-bye. However, the author avoids some of the problems that Harris ran into in his exploration of courtship, and gives reasonable defenses for his ideas about courtship.

The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce


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