The Keys To My Heart #10: Father-Daughter Relationships

Posted October 23, 2014 by Debby in Lifestyle

This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the bookish things that steal my heart.

#10. Father-Daughter Relationships

This is a topic that I’ve been saving up for a rainy day, but the time has come. I like my fair share of contemporary reads. I not only like them for the romance though – character growth and family dynamics are just as important. But nine times out of ten, what can absolutely slay me is beautiful father-daughter relationships.

On A Personal Note

It’s no big mystery to me why this element can inundate me with feels. My dad is probably the most important person in my life. As a kid, I’ll admit, I didn’t really feel very close to him. He seemed strict and distant and absorbed in his work. Later reflection allows me to see that, sadly, this is because his marriage to my mom was not a healthy one. After the divorce, which was regrettably not very amicable, it was like this huge weight was lifted from him. And I finally got to see who my dad really is.

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My dad is honestly my hero. It was decided by a mediator during the divorce that I should live with my mom, but that was, simply put, not the best arrangement for my mental health or happiness. Dad came in and saved me, and he’s saved me plenty of times since. He’s seen me at my worst, at truly shameful parts of my life, but he never judged me – just supported me in any way he could. And he knows just what kind of support to give. I could tell him anything, and he would be able to give me good and meaningful advice. We never run out of things to talk about – whether it be our family, politics, news, TV series, or my personal struggles du jour – yet, at the same time, we could sit in perfect silence together and not be bothered.

Regrettably, my dad lives in Texas still, while I’m over here in the land of tulips and windmills. I’ll be the first to admit that that isn’t easy. Sometimes I miss him so much I just can’t help but cry – but this is also why we have Skype. We try to make an effort to talk regularly, but with time difference and different schedules, it can sometimes be a few months in between contact. But again, this never feels weird, because we get each other, and if we do really NEED to talk, we’ll make time for each other. And we always have Facebook and Whatsapp, so it’s not like we’re not in touch. When we do finally Skype, it doesn’t matter if we last talk one week or one month ago – it’ll be more than an hour. Like I said, we can keep going for ages.


It’s no doubt easy to see his influences in who I am as a person as well. He’s a marketer – I studied marketing. He’s a sci-fi geek, and I am too. Sometimes we can easily finish each other’s sentences. And he’s a social media geek, like I am. He’s not as active (particularly on Twitter) but he’s tech savvy and likes being in touch, even if it’s just by lurking (hey, that’s where my lurking comes from!). He likes knowing what I’m up to – not in the creepy stalker parent way – but mostly because he’s proud of me. Which is how I know that he’s reading this post, because he’s subscribed to my blog. Hi there, Dad. I love you ♥ Thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I don’t think I can ever repay you, but I’m sure as hell going to try.

PHEW. Now some examples in BOOKS.

Catching Jordan All Lined Up Stealing Parker Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet MAGNOLIA Fangirl

Catching Jordan and All Lined Up have a similar kind of father figure: a professional athlete and coach, respectively, who seem really distant and gruff, but in the end come out as overprotective softies. Both have really touching scenes where that perceived distance is revealed to be hiding such deep love, and they did give me some feeeeelings.

Stealing Parker wins points in the awesome dads book because of Parker’s dad and Will aka Corn Fritter. Teasing your daughter about potential boyfriends just comes with the territory. Likewise, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet (and its source material, Pride and Prejudice) gives me life because of the father-daughter banter. Perfection.

Magnolia is also a nice example, though the father-daughter bond was not a central focus point. But the dad is a Trekkie (like mine!) and they also have this kind of understanding of each other – knowing how to support each other, even if it means just silently being by each others’ sides.

Fangirl is a really touching story, though way different from the previous examples. Here, the father is more fragile, and Cath is the one who takes care of him, more or less. She worries about him constantly, and, when necessary, puts everything aside to help him. If that doesn’t make you feel major feels, I don’t know what will.

A Midsummer's NightmareThe star of the whole show, though, has to be A Midsummer’s Nightmare, which depicts a divorce where the main character has a complicated relationship with her father. I don’t want to go into it too much, because spoilers (also, ha, my memory), but there’s a confrontation scene between the two of them that seriously had me bawling. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that I’ve only cried at a handful of books in my life, so this means a lot.

Elsewhere in Media

I have to take a moment to do some other shout-outs – first to TV’s Lie To Me. It’s a fantastic series that ended way too soon, because of its incredible stories, great psychological aspect, excellent acting, and, of course, that Cal/Gillian ship. But what will probably always be my favorite part, is the relationship between Lightman and his daughter. Especially when he’s teasing her about her boyfriends, but just in general, they have such a loving, understanding relationship that has brought me to tears many times.


What’s funny about my love for Lie To Me is that when my dad came to visit a couple weeks ago, we were talking about the show to my aunt, and he immediately said that that was one of his favorite elements too – because their relationship resembles ours. (Awwwww ♥) We generally have the same taste in TV series anyway, so he recommended me to watch Eureka, which also has a strong father-daughter relationship. I’m on season 3 now, and I love it. Seriously, when Carter says he NEEDS Zoe, my heart just completely melted. He’s an overprotective goof who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but everything he does he does out of love.


And because I can’t NOT, I have to mention the song “Dochters” by Marco Borsato. He’s a Dutch singer, so *cough* it’s maybe not the most accessible example. Basically in the song, he sings about how his daughter is growing up so fast – depicting different situations at different ages, culminating in her wedding day – but that ultimately she’ll always be his little girl. Basically, it’s a song that has made me cry multiple times and probably always will. Lucky for you, I found a video with the English translation. Enjoy 😉

Oops, I’m crying again.

TL;DR & Let’s Talk!

Father-daughter relationships are just beautiful to me. They are best when filled with banter and wit and understanding. Dads can be overprotective and appear distant or gruff, but there’s deep love there when you look closer. I’m sad that there aren’t more beautiful examples that I can give you, but I feel like father-daughter relationships can easily be glossed over. Either YA books will have absent parent syndrome or the biggest influence on the main character is her mother. So, what are some of your favorite father-daughter relationships? Do you think we need more healthy father-daughter relationships in books?

Let me know in the comments!

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13 responses to “The Keys To My Heart #10: Father-Daughter Relationships

  1. My mom divorced from my father when I was still pretty young and the only thing I remember was them screaming at each other when they thought we were asleep. Then after that I sometimes visited my father, but I never had any connection with him and was usually trying to convince my mom to not let me go. Eventually she gave and didn’t force me anymore, so I only went if I knew I got presents. Nowadays I don’t have any contact with my father at all and when he calls I try to give the phone as quickly as possible to my sister, before the awkward silence get’s too long.

    Okay beside personal experience on the subject I really like daughter-father relationships in books, although I haven’t read to many books that include these. In YA parents often seem to be conveniently absent or have no personality at all. I have read All Lined Up and really liked when we got to see her dad’s soft side, those scenes were so touching!

    I haven’t read any of the other books you mentioned and to be honest I can’t remember any good daughter-father relationships in books at the moment beside Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris although the focus is more on the romance in that book. It feels like there aren’t enough book that deal with relationships between the child and parent.

  2. Honestly, I like when books have any kind of great familial relationship, whether it’s with a dad, mom, grandparents. It just makes me happy, because I am so close to all of my family.

    I love the relationship between Cath and her dad in Fangirl. That really tugs on my heartstrings.

  3. This is such a lovely post, Debby! It’s awesome that you have such a strong connection with your dad. Father-daughter relationships are some of my favorites, too, and that’s because I’m also so close with my dad. I love seeing that bond in books! (Also, my dad and I are really into sports, so if there is a sports theme that’s bonus points). All Lined Up, Magnolia, and Fangirl are great examples! I just read Whatever Life Throws at You, and part of what makes it so great is that the MC’s dad has an actual character arc. I think you’d love it, Debby. 🙂

  4. It’s gotten to the point where, if there’s a good relationship with a parent — father or mother — then I’m pretty impressed. YA doesn’t have the best track record for involved parents. (One of the worst examples — or best examples, if you want to look at it that way — was in a book I read where the main character’s parents didn’t even appear. The main character heard one of them get up to flush the toilet… and that was the extent of their interaction for the whole book!)

    One of my favourite father/daughter relationships in a book was that between Karou and Brimstone in Daughter of Smoke & Bone (I know they’re not technically father and daughter, but the relationship dynamic is pretty close). I’m trying to think of some others… but there seems to be an awful lot of orphaned kids and single mothers in the books I read.

  5. I adore a good father daughter romance, but for a different reason than you. When my parents divorced, it was the opposite for me – dad’s estranged, and I’m super close to my mom. So I guess with books that have great relationships, it makes me a bit nostalgic, and wishing I had a relationship like that. But it’s also great because I can see what a GOOD relationship should look like, and it gives me something to hope for!

  6. I have that kind of relationship but with my mother. My dad and me don’t really talk much. I like to tell myself that I don’t have daddy issues but I probably do.

    I like parent-child relationships in books because they are so rare and also because growing up I was an introvert and my mom was my best friend. Even when I lived with my dad for a year in high school and a year in college I still visited my mom every weekend just to hang out. Even if all we did was babysit my niece.

  7. Wow, that was such a sweet post.Some relationships are so unique and beautiful with deep understanding between the people related.No one else can really understand it.
    I have a great relationship with my father but I feel it is getting a bit strained now.He works abroad, and visits often, but only for a short period, so we never get much time to spend with each other.My father and I shared a close relationship, but I feel we are drifting apart.Reading your post actually made me cry, because I don’t want that beautiful bond between us to fade.I just hope everything will get better.

  8. Awhhh, how sweet that he is subscribed to your blog! In case he reads the comments too *waves to Debby’s dad* :p

    I love daughter-father relationships in books. I have a very strong bond with my father too. Everyone always tell us that I’m his female version, haha. We think alike, we have the same type of humor and he is always there for me; he gets me. It’s nice to read stories with a similar relationship and Fangirl was heartwarming!

    Once upon a time has also some beautiful relationships. They are a bit special because of everything that happens, but it’s so cute!

  9. Oh my god!! *Squees* Someone who loves Lie to Me AND Eureka?!? (And why whyyyyyyy did they cancel Lie to Me? That was seriously my favourite show for AGES.) Family relationships are a big part of books for me – I’m lucky that I’ve been extremely fortunate when it comes to my family. We all live pretty far apart, but we’re all really, really close. So I like seeing that when it comes to my books – it’s a big part of how I feel about a book. Family doesn’t always have to be perfect and great, but the way it’s dealt with – either way – is really important to me!

  10. I enjoy the father-daughter relationship with Castle and Alexis in the show Castle. Their relationship has had it’s ups and downs as Alexis tries to navigate through her life and as Castle goes through things as well, but it’s in a really good place this season and I think it’s been realistic all throughout the show. It can definitely be hard to find good examples of fathers & daughters (or mothers & daughters) in YA books and elsewhere in media.