For many Americans, Kansas represents a vision of Midwestern life that is good and wholesome and evokes the American ideals of god, home, and country. But for those like Jessa Crispin who have grown up in Kansas, the realities are much harsher. She argues that the Midwestern values we cling to cover up a long history of oppression and control over Native Americans, women, and the economically disadvantaged. Blending personal narrative with social commentary, Crispin meditates on why the American Midwest still enjoys an esteemed position in our country's mythic self-image.
Continues this attempt to imagine a better world, at least for its author ... My Three Dads sees Crispin interrogate the structures she was given growing up in rural Kansas ... A diagnostic rumination—by turns grandly hopeful, abjectly misanthropic, and always opinionated—on the colossal problem of choosing how to live ... This would be a far less compelling book if Crispin’s desires yoked perfectly to her politics ... This habit of turning people into caricatures can be an annoying tic, but it is also flush with energy ... Crispin is best when she returns to the particulars ... The reward of reading Crispin’s book is commiseration, sharing her shame at wanting to want something different, but sometimes just wanting.
Voluble ... Crispin explores diverse topics with varied brilliance ... My Three Dads is challenging in its assessment of American life—a personal story that’s conveyed with piercing humor, sharp details, and whirlwinds of intelligent, expansive prose.
A much-needed counternarrative for the fictions of the Midwest that perpetuate and continue to engender an American cultural mythology that conceals harsh realities of colonialism, oppression, and patriarchalism ... A powerful, provocative narrative, designed to remind readers that it is often silence that empowers oppression, allowing it the power to endure in unchallenged ways.