Big Fish

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Big Fish by Daniel Wallace is a book about how William Bloom tries to understand his dying Father, Edward Bloom

The book is broken into 4 sections, each dealing with the same topic of his Father’s death from a different point of view. Each of these views is looked into from the lens that children often have with their fathers. He is never wrong, smart, funny, logical, and superhuman in strength and determination. And finally a mere mortal.

William does not know who his Father is, and describes him in an almost mystical way, with stories that cannot possibly be real.  For example, when Edward was trying to leave his hometown of Ashland, he described a mysterious place that traps others in a kind of limbo. Edward is able to overcome this obstacle. This place represents the hardship Edward had to endure and overcome simply to start living independently. Other sections try to explain events in Edwards’ life, like why he came back to William and his mother when his true love was Jenny Hill. Is this an event that really happened in his Father’s life?

Of the 4 sections; I enjoyed the 3rd and the 4rth the most, not because these provided new insights into who Edward was that I can relate to. He is a comedian who has a difficult time opening himself up to his son. Because he might find out he has not been as good a Father as he had believed himself to be. I did not find it to be very funny, but it does have its moments. It is an interesting book to read. I wonder if this story is complete fiction or based on part of the author’s life. Some disappointments his father may have felt for the author having decided to follow a different path in life.

This is not the easiest book to follow because you need to get into the mind of Edward to understand how he sees his father. And I do not think the ending truly answers that to my satisfaction. But that may be the intent, for who of us truly understands our father? I recommend this book to those who would like a light read.

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