My Father’s Bonus March
Adam Langer

Random House
Hardcover/256 pages
ISBN: 0385523726
Buy This Book

My Father’s Bonus March: Meandering memoir of a man’s life and a pivotal point in history lost and found.

How well do we know our parents? The answer Adam Langer discovers is not well at all. What we know is what remains when someone else writes the history.

Adam Langer begins this memoir of his father Seymour Sidney Langer in an unhurried and laconic voice. He seems almost reluctant to begin. He wanders here and there among the memories berry-picking—until you get past the first couple of chapters.

After Langer finds his focus and the point of his tale, everything begins to make sense. His ambiguous feelings, his reluctance and his reticence to pull apart his father’s life to discover the truth fall away, and at last My Father’s Bonus March comes into its own.

Langer’s father was an x-ray technician, well respected in his field and good at his job. Langer presents his father and the deliberately lost history of the Bonus March like one of his father’s x-rays—the flesh is a shadow and the skeleton clear and easily visible. What he shares in My Fathers’ Bonus March is not only a deliberately buried past, but the life of a man of substance and dreams who achieved what all people seek—contentment in a job well done and a life fully lived.

It takes time and willingness to see through the cover-ups, fantasies and lies. Adam Langer shows us the darkness at the heart of this country, and the lies allowed to persist. By searching for the truth of the Bonus March, Langer shines a light on one man’s soul and on a simple truth: “Life on the planet earth is amazing.”

Once Langer focused on the heart of the story and left his ambiguous feelings behind, My Father’s Bonus March was well worth reading.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell