Wednesday, August 6, 2008

AverageBro Goes To The Library: The Bond

[I visit my public library weekly, and I'm always reading something interesting. When the book happens to be a relatively new release, I'll give you the best review here at]

Fatherlessness is a well-discussed issue in the Black community, but how to overcome this hurdle, and how to solve it for future generations is seldom examined in depth. Since I grew up with my father, I'll freely admit that while this issue greatly troubles me (especially as a mentor and basketball coach), it's not one I can entirely relate to.

Three such gentleman who can are doctors Rameck Hunt, Sampson Davis, and George Jenkins, perhaps simply better known as The Three Doctors. These brothers gained national prominence a few years ago with the release of their first jointly-authored book The Pact. I never got around to reading it, but the book was supposedly about a promise the three high school friends made with each other to collectively hold each other responsible, and jointly aim to stick together through college, en route to becoming doctors. By leaning on each other, the guys were able to escape the mean streets of Newark, NJ, and go on to Seton Hall University, and their prospective graduate schools. All three finished their doctorates on the same day, which really made the book somewhat of a storybook beginning. The Pact went on to become a New York Times bestseller, and The Three Doctors continue to be good friends and all practice medicine in various fields in New Jersey today.

The Bond more or less picks up when The Pact ended, by examining a new agreement that The Three Doctors struck with each other: to reconnect with their fathers. Told in three distinct first-person voices, The Bond allows each doctor to explain his somewhat complex childhood growing up with fathers who were involved on dramatically different levels. This isn't some typical "Daddy was never there, I hate that bastard!" tome, however. Each man takes the time to explain both the good and bad of their relationships with their Dads, and is even honest about how the single Moms that raised them might have gotten in the way. Furthermore, the book allows the fathers themselves (with one notable exception) to explain their sides of the story. This isn't some sob story, nor is it some clinical analysis of the paucity of Black fathers. Neither of the three doctors are psychologists, so there's no over analyzing what's going on. The Bond is simply three completely transparent real life stories, and some very very practical instructions on how to reconnect with a father (or child) that you may be estranged from.

Normally I'd wrap up a book review by telling you exactly whom this book is written for, but reality is, it's just an overall good read for anyone who wants to better understand the issue of missing Black fathers. I applaud The Three Doctors for being open and honest, and putting together a compelling book with some real solutions, as opposed to simply slamming Black men who are delinquent in their parenting responsibilities. Because we all know this issue is far more complex than simply calling someone a deadbeat Dad.

The Bond wins points for trying to present a dynamic viewpoint of a very troubling issue.

Bonus: Video of The Three Doctors discussing The Bond and their fathers.

Double Bonus: The Three Doctors on The Today Show.

Question: Have you read The Pact or The Bond? What did you think?

The Three Doctors [Official Website]

Purchase The Pact or The Bond via the Carousel on the right.

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