Review: What My Daughters Taught Me by Joseph Wakim

Title: What My Daughters Taught Me

Author: Joseph Wakim

Published: Allen & Unwin August 2015

Status: Read on August 09, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

What My Daughters Taught Me is a heart warming memoir by Joseph Wakim who found himself the sole parent of his three young daughters when his beloved wife, Nadia, passed away after a short battle with cancer.

‘Amazing’ Grace, ‘Ma Belle’ Michelle and Joy ‘to the World’, each named after song’s favoured by Joseph and his wife were just eleven, nine and four when they lost their mother. Despite his overwhelming grief at losing his soul mate, Joseph vowed to be both father and mother to their girls.

With humour, honesty and faith derived from his Maronite church (he is a Maronite Catholic), Joseph learnt to cook, use conditioner on tangles, braid hair, referee bathroom wars, peg out laundry at the speed of light, and gracefully submit to his daughters fashion stylings. He nurtured his daughters’ love of dance and music (starting a band called Heartbeats), helped them study, and taught them to drive.

Sharing the details of his courtship with his wife, and her painful demise, as well as providing a glimpse into his past as part of a large Lebanese immigrant family, Joseph writes of grief, love, family and life’s roller-coaster.

To ensure financial stability for his family, Joseph moved from social work, having been responsible for the Streetwork project in Adelaide and having been awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2001, into business. He founded the Australian Arabic Council, was once the former Victorian Multicultural Affairs Commissioner, but now writes regular opinion pieces about human rights issues. He authored Sorry We Have No Space, a finalist for the Australian Christian Book of the Year, in 2013 about racism experienced by Arabs in Australian.

However this book is not about his professional achievements but about his greatest personal accomplishment – raising his daughters with love, wisdom and faith. It has been twelve years since Joseph lost his wife, and their family is thriving. His daughters are beginning to establish their independence, and Joseph is proud of the role he played in shaping the women they have become.

*please note I choose not to rate memoirs*

Available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

and all good bookstores.

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