You guys know how much I love Matt Haig (I mention The Humans like once a week) and last month read and reviewed Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest. I’m making my way through all of his books, and I recently decided to try audiobooks. The Dead Fathers Club was my first audiobook, and honestly, I think it might’ve ruined every other audiobook I might try. Ha.
Title: The Dead Fathers Club
Author: Matt Haig
Reader: Andrew Dennis
Why did this audiobook ruin all other audiobooks for me?
- It’s got the PERFECT reader. The Dead Fathers Club is set from the perspective of Phillip, an eleven-year-old boy. The reader, Andrew Dennis, was twelve when he read for this book. Andrew’s intonation perfectly captured the wonder, anger, confusion, and grief of Phillip in a way that kept me hooked onto every word.
- It’s an update on Hamlet: Phillip’s father was murdered, and when his dad’s ghost appears to him to tell Phillip he’s become a member of “the dead father’s club”, Phillip must avenge his father’s death at the hands of Uncle Alan or he’ll never rest. The book is set in modern-day England with a cast of very interesting characters: Uncle Alan who’s sweet on Phillip’s mom, Uncle Alan’s Bible-bashing business partner and his young daughter, a bunch of bullies, new friends, and some fish.
- It’s got a great story: The story itself was so powerful, just like everything Matt Haig does. The story is equally charming and tragic.
- It’s genre-bending: You never quite know whether the story is supernatural or a story about how a child’s imagination can create a whole story as a response to the grief surrounding a parent’s death. Is Phillip’s grief about to overcome him and force him into a mental breakdown or are ghosts real? I loved this idea, and I’m glad we never quite know the truth.
- It’s different: The writing style is so cool. Okay, I know I listened to the audiobook, but I loved the way it perfectly captured the way young children tell stories; there weren’t breaks really and the story easily flowed from one topic to the next. I decided to look up what the book actually looked like, and it was just as I imagined it. Here’s a sample:
“I am all too heavy. I dont even feel like I have a body it is like I am the river bank and the mud and I have been the mud for 2000 million years and I can see everything I can see Terry and Leah on the river bank and Terry who is St Johns Ambulance pinching her nose and blowing in her mouth and he stops blowing and he listens to her mouth and looks at Alan sinking under.”
The whole thing isn’t like this. Some parts have more periods but isn’t this wonderful? I love this section.
- It’s got an abrupt ending: This spurred me to yell out in my car, “Are you kidding me? No. No. No. It did not just end like that.” Yes, out loud in my car. 🙂 I actually really liked the ending after I had time to process that the book was over. It allows the reader to interpret what they think happened.
- It’s got all the feels: The book is both as fun as you might expect from the description but also really emotional, thought-provoking, and deep. A wonderful book, just as I’ve come to expect from Matt Haig.
If you’re interested in getting into audiobooks, I would highly recommend starting with this one. It was a great start for me, and, in my opinion, the reader was perfect. As a kid about the same age as the narrator of the book, he was able to perfectly invoke all of the feelings that Phillip had. Loved this one.