I Will Do Better A Father’s Memoir of Heartbreak, Parenting, and Love

I Will Do Better

A Father’s Memoir of Heartbreak, Parenting, and Love

  • ISBN: 9781419774423
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2024


Price: $26.00

I Will Do Better is New York Times bestselling writer Charles Bock’s frank and tender memoir of parenting his toddler daughter in the wake of his wife’s untimely death.

The novelist Charles Bock was a reluctant parent, tagging along for the ride of fatherhood, obsessed primarily with his dream of a writing career. But when his daughter Lily was six months old, his wife, Diana, was diagnosed with a complex form of leukemia. Two and half years later, when all treatments and therapies had been exhausted, Bock found himself a widower—devastated, drowning in medical bills, and saddled with a daunting responsibility. He had to nurture Lily, and, somehow, maybe even heal himself.

I Will Do Better is Charles’s pull-no-punches account of what happened next. Playdates, music classes, temper tantrums, oh-so-cool babysitters, first days at school, family reunions, single-parent dating, and a citywide crippling natural disaster—were minefields especially treacherous for Charles and Lily because of their preexisting vulnerability: their grief. Charles sought help from friends, family, and therapists, but this overgrown, middle-aged boy-man and his plucky child became, foremost, a duo—they found their way together.

By turns comical and heartbreaking, I Will Do Better does not shy from moments of sadness, anger, or awkwardness. It’s the remarkable journey of two defiant and wounded people, and their personal growth in the name of love.


I Will Do Better is searingly honest and compulsively readable—a memoir of survival, grief, and the fathomless ways our fates are tethered to those of people we lose, people we fail, people we love. This book will get deep under your skin.”
—Rebecca Makkai, New York Times bestselling author of I Have Some Questions for You

“Charles Bock’s brilliant and absorbing new memoir of raising a toddler on his own—while trying to come to terms with loss and generally struggling to keep the lights on—is as magical and effervescent as Lily, the little girl at the book’s center. The book radiates with feeling, humor and insight—into parenting, the city, ambition. Although it is about the attempt to move forward (or at least to keep going) after tragedy, I Will Do Better is nevertheless a joy to read—bursting with beauty and life even as it resists any hint of sentimentality or cliche. One of the best memoirs I’ve read in years.” 
—Adelle Waldman, bestselling author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

“More tender than the night is Charles Bock’s large menschy heart. And more tender still is the prose he brings to I Will Do Better, a true story that encompasses and conveys the ultimate sadness and the most profound hope.”
—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Our Country Friends

“In his distinctive prose style, both lyrical and muscular, Bock evokes a chaotic kaleidoscope of tones—irony, anger, literary ambition, fierce parental protectiveness, loneliness, toxic masculinity… A uniquely forthright and powerful addition to the literature of fatherhood.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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