Bernard Cooper: The Bill from My Father

The Bill from My Father: A Memoir - Bernard Cooper

The fascinating (and frustrating) part of this difficult father-son relationship is that the author didn't actually wonder what his own childhood cost his father, except in the most self-reflective way. When Cooper receives the titular bill, he only looks at how it relates to himself, as in, Wow, did I cost that much? And shouldn't my father have been happy to pay for my childhood? Cooper spends the entire book looking for approval from his eccentric father, which makes it impossible for the reader to understand his father's personality or how the man was shaped by his mental decay. Every eccentricity is examined in terms of how it impacts Cooper, not as an illumination the man himself. I was left wishing I had met Cooper's father personally, rather than learning so much about what Cooper thought his father might have thought about him.