Are You My Daddy?
Are You My Daddy? is not complicated at all, and if you are in the mood for (yet another) cowboy and kid story, you’ll find this book appealing.
Five-year-old Cody has an absentee dad, a rodeo rider who just can’t find time for his son. That’s why Cody’s momma, pretty Marty Thomas, divorced him. Cody is attending a father-and-son event where kids try their hand at riding a sheep, but Cody’s father never showed up. Disappointed, Cody “adopts” Joe Rawlins, 3-time world rodeo champion, to take the place of his daddy, just for this one event.
Apparently, 5-year-old children are not required to wear protective head-gear when riding a large, bucking sheep, so Cody is promptly dispatched to the cold hard ground, where he suffers a head injury, and temporary selective amnesia. When he awakens, he thinks Joe is his real father.
Tall and handsome Joe helps independent and suspicious Marty take the boy to the hospital, then, to keep from upsetting the little tyke further, Marty and Joe pretend that Joe really is Cody’s daddy, until Cody’s memory returns. Even though this was the crux of the story, I had a hard time accepting that a mom and a stranger would perpetuate such a falsehood for the “benefit” of an injured child. What if the boy had amnesia a really long time, and completely accepted this other man as his father? When Cody finally regained his memory, wouldn’t he suffer a worse trauma being told that this man was not his father after all? This wasn’t realistic to me.
In fact, Cody’s memory doesn’t return for a long time – long enough for Joe and Marty to begin falling in love. They each have baggage – she doesn’t ever want to get involved with another cowboy, undependable lot that they are. And, Joe shamefacedly sees himself in Cody’s daddy, always on the road, thinking only of himself. Joe was on the circuit 5 years earlier, winning his third championship, when his wife and unborn son were killed in a car accident.
Joe is an appealing hero, but he does rather tend to dwell on his loss a little too much. The book is very readable; the author’s style is appealing. The story holds no surprises, but, if you are a fan of cowboys and kids, this one’s for you.