Ryan’s Dad has been called up to serve his country, and he will
be away for a year. Ryan, through whose eyes this story is told,
is used to spending a lot of time with his Dad, and he will miss
him a lot. So will his Mom and his little sister, Anna, but they
all know they have to be strong for the time he is away. The
year passes and the seasons change, with wonderful, vivid
description by the author. Ryan, Anna and their Mom keep busy;
they write to Dad a lot and send him pictures of things they do.
Finally the New Year comes, and with it Ryan’s Dad! There is a
grand parade in the town to welcome him and the other servicemen
and servicewomen home.
In “A Year Without Dad”, which she has dedicated
to the families of the members of the Armed Forces, Mrs.
Brunson has written a touching and engaging true story from the
narrative perspective of her young son, Ryan, who, in her words,
did a lot of growing up in the year his father was called up for
military service. The value of keeping busy is stressed, as well
as the importance of staying in touch and communicating with the
person who is away. The story teaches kids how to adapt, and
also that the time of separation is not necessarily a bad thing:
the missing parent is away because he or she is doing something
important and worthwhile, i.e. serving the country. The child
gets the chance to grow and learn and take on more
responsibility, with the ability to emulate the parent, but also
to practice and build on the things he has been taught.
All families of the members of the Armed Forces should read
“A Year Without Dad” to their children. The author
has given a warm, genuine and firsthand account of the
difficulty of balancing life when a partner is away. She touches
on how to ensure that life goes on with relative normality when
children are anxious, confused and upset, and also how to keep
the absent parent involved in his or her child’s life.