Do you know the story of Superman? The title of this book is actually a quote from Laura, a devoted mother, grandmother. She is the wife of an equally devoted stepfather and grandfather, Francis Adams, who is also the book’s author.
Laura tells the story of Superman to her three- year-old granddaughter, June. Adams overhears the story in sections spread through the chapter as he rocks his step-grandchild to sleep. In this opening moment, Adams creates a beautiful parallel to his situation as a stepfather and grandfather to that of the fictional Superman’s own adoptive parents on Earth.
Adams ruminates on life and what it means to love a child as much as a biological parent, even without the biological connection. As Adams explains it, he was one half of an infertile couple and didn’t get the opportunity to be a father until he married someone who already had children of her own. Adams states in the first chapter that, “I may not have an evolutionary role but I feel needed.” Interesting wording, “needed” – the idea that part of humanity’s predilection toward parenting lies fundamentally a quest for purpose. It’s what gets people outside of the door in the morning, it’s what encourages people to innovate, or in Adams’s case, what encourages him to strive to stay healthy and ever-present for his kids and their children.
Adams approaches anxieties associated with parenting, aging, and death in a very relatable way. He brings up heavy points that may sting readers, making them feel uneasy and depressed, but ultimately grateful for granted the lives they have been given. The book is short–under 50 pages–and although Adams is able to relay a very powerful message, it could have used more incubation to solidify.
As Adams points out, in our current world where grandparents and relatives become estranged, he and his wife Laura have decided to become devout grandparents. Adams may not have had the opportunity to be father until later than expected, but he is doing a great job of it now. To those who read this book–especially those estranged from their own families–DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF SUPERMAN? might prove inspiration to be more involved and find a better purpose.
DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF SUPERMAN?: LOVING CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT YOUR OWN hits readers in the gut with the reality of mortality and the value of parenting along that journey.
~Andrea J. Millard for IndieReader