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ELEVEN TOP FATHERS IN LITERATURE

In honor of Fathers’ Day, we’ve rounded up some of the top pops in literature – fun dads, strict dads, and men who fill the role of fathers to other men’s children. These titles make perfect gifts for Dear Old Dad or anytime reminders to give your old man a call.

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Mr. Bennet, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Mr. Bennett’s relationship with his daughter Elizabeth is one for the ages as he clearly respects her and her choices when other fathers of the time might try to micromanage their daughters’ love lives. Let’s not even start on the fact that he’s remarkably calm for a man of modest means with five daughters.

TS Garp, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP

Despite never knowing his own father, Garp is so desperate to protect his children from the dangers of the outside world that he must cope with his own anxiety over their well-being. Through the tragedies and absurd events his family endures, he maintains his mission in life to keep his children safe at all cost.

Arthur Wesley, HARRY POTTER SERIES

Magic powers don’t make fatherhood any easier. In a time of danger and chaos, Weasley the senior is a force of strength, positivity and support for his kids (and their friends!), facing down dementors, snakes and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named to keep his family safe.

Will Freeman, ABOUT A BOY

Families needn’t always be biological and sometimes it’s a friend, uncle or other male role-model who steps into the place of a father. Such is the case for lad-about-town Will Freeman in Nick Hornby’s charming novel. This roguish cad starts the book pretending to be a single father to pick up women but finds himself inexorably tied to a troubled 12-year-old boy, and his fatherhood role becomes a reality.

Jim Gaffigan , DAD IS FAT

Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, best known for jokes on hot pockets and bacon, turns his comic eye on his own family life as a father of five young children. Though he comically grouses about the trickier side of parenting (see: tacos on the floor, attempting to communicate with four year olds, dirty diapers), it is clear that Gaffigan adores his brood and considers fatherhood to be his best gig yet.

Doc, COFFINS OF LITTLE HOPE

Another non-traditional father figure, in Timothy Schaffert’s enchanting, delightful novel, Doc – small-town newspaper editor and fan of white linen suits and porkpie hats – raises his young niece Tiff after her flighty mother leaves her for a new boyfriend and the glittering lights of Paris. Doc instantly steps into the parent role, teaching Tiff a love of magic and holiday traditions and gracefully copes (and help’s Tiff cope) when her mother returns into her life.

Jack Schickler, THE DARK PATH

A classic strong yet silent type, Jack Schickler supports his son David through heartbreak, depression, and Catholic qualms in this soulful and irreverent memoir. He also knows that dance is often the best therapy in life, a true sign of a successful father.

Thomas Schell, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE

Basically: if Tom Hanks plays a character in a film adaptation, you know he’s a good dude. A victim of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the great force of fatherly love that is Thomas Schell is the beating heart behind this coming-of-age story. Thomas equips his son Oskar, a boy society seems destined to reject, with the tools to make his inquisitive, curious nature his greatest strength, and Thomas’ words of wisdom are prevalent on every page of Oskar’s journey.

Matthew Berry, FANTASY LIFE

ESPN’s Fantasy Football guru, Berry became a step-father to three young boys and used his love of fantasy football to bond with the boys. Taking it a step further, Berry even plays in a fantasy league with the boys’ father, helping to bring the whole family together and show his stepsons that like football, family is a team.

Jean Valjean, LES MISERABLES

Jean Valjean goes to such extreme lengths to give his adopted daughter Cosette a life full of happiness. Case in point: whereas most fathers aim to strike fear in the heart of their daughter’s suitors, Jean joins the militants of the French Revolution to ensure the safety of Cosette’s boyfriend and then carries him to salvation through the sewers when said boyfriend gets wounded. That’s a dad that cares.

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