Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew by Jim Higley (Greenleaf Book Group; $14.95; 201 pages)
There is something about cancer that strikes a chord with nearly everyone. Whether it is the fear that it could happen to anyone at anytime, the fact that nearly everyone knows somebody who has suffered through the dreaded disease, or some other mysterious quality that separates this affliction from others, there is no disputing the fact that the mere mention of cancer quickly gets people’s attention.
In his early forties, Jim Higley, a single dad with three young children was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The prognosis was particularly ominous due to his family’s history of cancer and the fact that he had lost his brother to brain cancer just a few years earlier.
Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew is his story. The term bobblehead refers to the sports replica figurines whose heads bobble. Early in the book, Higley recalls his fondness for them as a child and realizes that he has taken on that characteristic as a dad by routinely bobbing his head dismissively when he returns home from work and listens to his children’s stories of their days.
That is the beginning of the format of the book in which the author pairs childhood memories with his real-time cancer experiences to craft a series of 25 lessons focused on choices that allow for happiness and healthy relationships.
The writing is excellent. The lessons initially appear to be a bit simplistic or quaint, but in the context of the author’s battle with cancer, the reader is much more inclined to internalize the inherent wisdom of many of them. My personal favorite is Lesson 12: Rest. Some other examples include “Embrace Who You Are” and “Lessons Happen Every Day.” Again, out of context, they might appear too unsophisticated for 21st Century America, but that appears to be exactly the point – they are not. In fact, they are presented as foundational building blocks for life.
Due to consistency in voice and presentation, the book flows seamlessly from page to page. The reader can easily relate to the anecdotes, topics, and relationships that permeate the true tale. In no way is the book’s audience limited to males, cancer survivors, or other types of age ranges or subgroups. It can be read quickly in a few settings or in short segments as time allows. Overall, Bobblehead Dad is a gem.
A review copy was provided by the author. Dave Moyer is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel. Note: Readers who relate to this book might also be interested in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and/or Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.