Reading My Father

A Memoir

Reading My Father

Now in paperback, the format for memoir, the story of a daughter coming to know her father at last—“ardent, sophisticated, and entirely winning…this is a grown up memoir…taut and true” (The New York Times).  

PART MEMOIR AND PART ELEGY, Reading My Father is the story of a daughter coming to know her father at last. “A natural writer, fluid, and engaging” (The Boston Globe), Alexandra Styron grew up in Connecticut and on Martha’s Vineyard, where her family’s vibrant social life included writers, presidents, and entertainers. She was raised under both the halo of her father’s brilliance and the long shadow of his troubled mind. William Styron, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, was a fascinating and difficult man whose own memoir, Darkness Visible, searingly chronicled his midlife battle with major depression. “By turns brilliant and shocking” (The New York Times Book Review), Reading My Father is a tale of a daughter’s love and her own coming-of-age, beautifully written, with humor, understanding, and grace.
  • Scribner | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416591818 | 
  • March 2012
List Price $15.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Reading My Father includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Alexandra Styron. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Written with astonishing grace and generosity, Alexandra Styron’s Reading My Father, is a moving and illuminating portrait of a great twentieth century novelist and a deeply troubled man.

William Styron's writing and his depression dominated the Styron family landscape, and Alexandra, the youngest of four children, learned to navigate his storms in order to survive. Spanning from Styron’s Tidewater, Virginia youth and precocious literary debut to the triumphs of his best known books and on through his devastating spiral into madness, Reading My Father chronicles the epic sweep of a American artist’s life, while also telling the story of a daughter coming to know her father at last.


  1. Consider Alexandra’s place in the Styron family as the youngest child. Could any of her older siblings have written this particular memoir? Or do you think Alexandra witnessed a different side of her parents?
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Articles About This Book

Off the shelf vertical blog post

Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Allison Tyler

Father/daughter relationships can be complicated, and these sixtitles, all written by the daughters of rather extraordinary fathers, run the gamut from heart-warming to heart-wrenching. There's the tale of growing up as a bishop'sdaughter; the...

About the Author

Alexandra Styron
Photograph by Rex Bonomelli

Alexandra Styron

ALEXANDRA STYRON is the author of the novel All the Finest Girls and a graduate of Barnard College and the MFA program at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, and she has taught memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, NY.