By Denise Turney
Father’s Day is one day in the year when millions pause to express their gratitude to their father for nurturing, guiding, supporting and loving them. For many it is also a day that brings pain as children recall a father who made a decision that will forever impact their life – a decision to leave his family.
The Way A Door Closes is the first book I have come across that speaks to this choice made by many fathers for one reason or another, a choice that reshapes each member of that father’s family forever. The Way A Door Closes is a children’s book that was written with the intent to help children who grow up absent their fathers begin to heal. The book’s author, Hope Anita Smith, states that she didn’t want to just tell the story of a father who disappears. She wanted this story to have a different ending, an ending that proves wrongs can be righted and it’s never too late to say I’m sorry.
The Way A Door Closes tells the story of a family of six (two sons, one daughter, mother, father and grandmother). They all share and live in the same home. At the start of the story it is obvious that the home is filled with love. Each member celebrates one another’s individual differences. Much of the story is told through the voice of C. J., the older of the two sons in the family. C. J. is thirteen years old. Due to growing older, his life is, in many ways, changing drastically in natural ways. He is a child who experiences life with his eyes wide open as is evident in the book’s opening. There’s a moment right before morning that is silent and still. Grandmomma says it’s a blessing to experience. I hug my pillow and try to hold on to this moment. And then the day begins. Daddy’s razor roars. The scent of Momma’s cookin’ floats down the hall to me till it tickles my nose.
Nothing about the start of the book hints at what will happen as the story unfolds. Fathers and sons (who are growing up without their fathers) will appreciate The Way A Door Closes. It is a book of triumph as it shows how just as a door closes, shutting a father away from his family that same door can again open.