Book Review: Dear Father, Dear Son

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Book Review: Dear Father, Dear Son

I just fin­ished read­ing con­ser­v­a­tive talk-​show host Larry Elder’s Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives… Eight Hours–an auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal story of Larry’s rela­tion­ship with his father, Ran­dolph. It’s a tough, unflinch­ing and, ulti­mately, a tear-​inducing read, one which I fin­ished in two days. Hav­ing lis­tened to two incar­na­tions of Larry’s LA-​based radio show for many years, his spare, straight-​forward “voice” comes through in the writ­ing very strongly.

The life story of Ran­dolph Elder is emblem­atic of an era of hard­ship, of poverty and overt racism. The ille­git­i­mate child of an indo­lent and hard-​hearted mother – he never found out who his bio­log­i­cal father was – Mr. Elder was on his own at age thirteen.

But from that time until he was well into his eight­ies, he worked and worked and worked – using the strong back, skilled hands and innate intel­li­gence that God gave him. And hav­ing taken on the respon­si­bil­i­ties of a wife and pro­duc­ing three sons, he made it his busi­ness to see that they had what he wasn’t given — at least financially.

But, his adversity-​born hard­ness and deter­mi­na­tion had a draw­back: he did not know how to relate to his wife and his sons on a per­sonal level. And this very sweet story writ­ten by his famous mid­dle son, doc­u­ments the hatred his chil­dren had for their father, the con­fronta­tion between Larry and Ran­dolph, the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, and, most impor­tantly, the love that these two men learned to feel and express toward each other.

Some pol­i­tics are in the story, but they play only an inci­den­tal role; the pri­mary top­ics in this story are com­mu­ni­ca­tion, under­stand­ing and forgiveness.

God com­mands that His chil­dren honor their mother and father and, I believe that the younger Mr. Elder has, through writ­ing this story, done so. May we all be so blessed to under­stand and, if need be, for­give our parents.

I just finished reading conservative talk-show host Larry Elder’s Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives… Eight Hours–an autobiographical story of Larry’s relationship with his father, Randolph. It’s a tough, unflinching and, ultimately, a tear-inducing read, one which I finished in two days.  Having listened to two incarnations of Larry’s LA-based radio show for many years, his spare, straight-forward “voice” comes through in the writing very strongly.

The life story of Randolph Elder is emblematic of an era of hardship, of poverty and overt racism.  The illegitimate child of an indolent and hard-hearted mother–he never found out who his biological father was–Mr. Elder was on his own at age thirteen.

But from that time until he was well into his eighties, he worked and worked and worked–using the strong back, skilled hands and innate intelligence that God gave him. And having taken on the responsibilities of a wife and producing three sons, he made it his business to see that they had what he wasn’t given—at least financially.

But, his adversity-born hardness and determination had a drawback: he did not know how to relate to his wife and his sons on a personal level. And this very sweet story written by his famous middle son, documents the hatred his children had for their father, the confrontation between Larry and Randolph, the reconciliation, and, most importantly, the love that these two men learned to feel and express toward each other.

Some politics are in the story, but they play only an incidental role; the primary topics in this story are communication, understanding and forgiveness.

God commands that His children honor their mother and father and, I believe that the younger Mr. Elder has, through writing this story, done so.  May we all be so blessed to understand and, if need be, forgive our parents.