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Author tells of his Navy pilot father

Stephen Rodrick reads from his new book
Stephen Rodrick reads from his new book 'The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life” in downtown Bremerton Tuesday.
— image credit: Photo by Wes Morrow

Author Stephen Rodrick read from his book “The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life” in Bremerton Tuesday as part of Armed Forces Festival Week.

Tuesday was also the book’s official release date. Rodrick said the Bremerton reading was the first he has done from his newest book, and acted as his “maiden voyage.”

After the reading, Rodrick attended a reception at the Kitsap Regional Library in downtown Bremerton where he signed books and spoke with readers.

In his book, Rodrick attempts to get to know his father, a Navy pilot who was absent for much of his childhood. His father, Peter Rodrick, died in 1979 when his plane crashed in the Indian Ocean.

Rodrick was 13 years old at the time of his father’s death and was living on Whidbey Island, where his father had been stationed.

Even before his father’s death, Rodrick could already feel his absence. His father was an officer on the fast track and was away from his family more than half of the year throughout his son’s young life.

To learn more about his enigmatic father, an adult Rodrick turned to the pilots in his father’s squadron — VAQ-135.

“In this powerful, beautifully written book, Stephen Rodrick explores the life and death of the man who indelibly shaped his life, even as he remained a mystery: brilliant but unknowable, sacred but absent— an apparition gone 200 days of the year for much of his young son’s life—a born leader who gave his son little direction.

“Through adolescence and into adulthood, Rodrick struggled to fully grasp the reality of his father’s death and its permanence,” Kitsap Regional Library said of Robrick’s book.

Rodrick is an accomplished journalist. He is a contributing writer for “The New York Times Magazine” and contributing editor for “Men’s Journal.” He has had works appear in “The Best American Sports Writing,” “The Best American Crime Reporting” and “The Best American Political writing.”

Kitsap Regional Library plans to host a number of events throughout the month of May to celebrate Military Appreciation Month. On Saturday, May 18, the Sylvan Way Library will screen the World War II documentary “Honor in the Sky.”

 

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