Ryan Knighton's humorous and perceptive tales of fatherhood take us inside an unusual new family, one bound by its father's particular darkness and light.
C'mon Papa is Ryan Knighton's heartbreaking and hilarious voyage through the first year of fatherhood. Becoming a father is a stressful, daunting rite of passage to be sure, but for a blind father, the fears are unimaginably heightened. Ryan will have to find novel ways to adapt to nearly every aspect of parenting: the most basic skills are nearly impossible to contemplate, let alone master. And how will Ryan get to know this pre-verbal bundle of coos and burps when he can't see her smile, or look into her eyes for hints of the person to come?
But this is no pity party, and Ryan has no time for sentimentality. Tackling these hurdles with grace and humour, Ryan is determined to do his part - and this is where the fun starts. From holding his daughter as she wails into the night to their first nerve-wracking walk to the cafe, no activity between father and daughter is without its pitfalls. In his struggle to "see" Tess, Ryan reimagines the relationship between father and child during that first chaotic year.
Ryan Knighton is the author of the critically acclaimed Cockeyed: A Memoir, which was published around the world and is in development as a major motion picture. His comic essays have appeared in Esquire, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail and Salon. At the age of eighteen Knighton was diagnosed with the degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa and is now blind, which is blinder than he’d like to admit. He teaches English at Capilano University and lives in East Vancouver with his wife and young daughter.
"Every new parent behaves like they're the first human to have given birth, and you don't always want to be seated beside them at a dinner party. What makes Knighton special is that, being blind, he's exquisitely attuned to every detail of the experience, every moment of joy and embarrassment, in a way that can make the merely sighted feel frankly unperceptive. His book made me want to have another kid, just to see what I missed the first time round."
— Daniel Richler, author of Kicking Tomorrow
"A warm, insightful and very funny book. Knighton is a writer you enjoy in the moment and think about later."
— Timothy Taylor, author of Stanley Park
"Ryan Knighton can't see, true. But his capacity to look inward, to create a landscape of what it is to be a blind parent, is nothing short of profound. He's also hilarious, and I'm warning you, you're going to cry, too. C'mon Papa is a memoir like no other, about a life like no other."
— Alicia Erian, author of Towelhead
"Painfully funny. Whether he's writing about almost getting run over, role-playing a cervix or losing his infant daughter in the snow, Knighton is wise, witty, moving and assured."
— Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean
“A wonderful writer with a gift for laughter when the situation requires it; and even when it doesn’t, he is still able to make it work. . . . Incredibly honest, eloquent and moving.”
— Ottawa Citizen
“Funny and moving, this is neither a fact-driven public service announcement nor a romanticized representation of blindness. . . . Well-written, thoughtful and engaging, this is a discussion of parenting with a difference, a book valuable not so much because it tells a remarkable story but because it tells its story remarkably well.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
“It’s a parenthood page-turner, a rarity, and for the right reasons. C’mon Papa isn’t another stunt book. It’s not A Year of Living Blind With a Newborn. . . . Knighton’s wit and irreverence are apparent on every page, and besides, like Ian Brown’s excellent The Boy in the Moon, C’mon Papa is ultimately less a book about being a parent under such-and-such a circumstance than it is about being human. . . . This is what separates C’mon Papa from the canon of vaguely self-congratulatory parent-lit: It’s a book about a baby, whose daddy is blind and a fine writer.”
— The Globe and Mail
“Knighton writes with rare insight and humour about a common experience from an uncommon perspective. This is excellent new work by one of Canada’s unique voices.”
— NOW (Toronto)