Tag Archives: a long way back


Donorboy: A Novel, by Brendan Halpin

i stumbled onto a more recent book of halpin’s, called a long way back, and was blown away by his writing. that book said, “by the author of donorboy” on the cover. so, i recently downloaded this book to my kindle, and read it on a couple plane flights.

dude is a great writer! (i’ve since downloaded the rest of his books.)

donorboy tells the story of a 14 year-old girl, beginning shortly after the deaths of her two lesbian mothers in a car accident. “donorboy” is, well, the sperm donor who is, technically, her father, but has never even met her (he was an old friend of one of her moms’). but donorboy – who is in his young thirties and never married – decides to pursue custody of her, and wins.

when the story begins, the two aren’t even talking at all (only because she will not talk to him). halpin uses a creative collection of journal entries, emails, text messages, and meeting transcripts to piece the unfolding story for us (it’s a brilliant literary device that would have felt forced in the hands of a lesser author).

we get an insider’s glimpse into the pain and tiny steps of healing in the mind and heart of a young teen girl. we see a father who is flailing and failing and trying and patient and second-guessing his own every move. it’s an aching story of healing and restoration.

in a long way back, halpin wrote extensively about grief through a middle aged female narrator (the sister of the man in grief). in this story, he tells a story of grief through the voices of a 14 year-old girl and a 30-something guy. fascinating. the guy certainly has an inside track on what grief really looks and feels like. and healing too.

a great read for older teenagers, parents, and youth workers. but just a great read for anyone, really.