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My Eight Dads, by Mark Kirby

One dad was a college kid. One was a cancerous pedophile. One was a blundering dreamer. One was appropriately named, Dick. One was an elder statesman, who died, as elder statesman tend to do. One carried a bible in one hand and a puppet in the other. One was a sociopathic conman. One was just happy to be husband #8. All were deformed father figures married to his mother. None escape the candid retelling of absurdity, abuse, negligence and narcissism in Mark Kirby’s memoir.

In this gripping and engaging memoir, Mark Kirby details an abusive youth in the Pacific Northwest, this intermingled with an absurd flurry of doctor’s visits and tests due to his recent cancer diagnosis. Mark jokes, trudges, and flies with us through his experiences with the eight “dads” he watched his mom pass through – for better or for worse: “She marries ’em, and I bury ’em,” he quips. But in this memoir, he is careful not to bury his tale of child abuse without conversation, all of this influenced by his recent diagnosis.

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