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The Way Life Should Be

A novel by

Two fathers embarking on the second half of their lives together. Two families in the midst of transformation. A warm, funny, and unforgettable novel about the joys and fears of moving on.

Husbands Thomas and Matt are enjoying a second-chance marriage after coming out, leaving their wives, and finding happiness in a summer cottage on the southern coast of Maine. They’ve kept a tenuous peace with their exes. Thomas toils in the garden. There is an ease to their love. This is the way life should be.

But it’s not long before their three children—each nearing adulthood and fleeing personal crises of their own—descend on their fathers’ bliss. The two-bedroom getaway has just enough space for Thomas and Matt’s future. Now they must make room for the past, and all its drama.

During an unintentional family reunion, old lives, broken and in need of repair, converge with the new. Over the course of an unforgettable summer, two fathers and their children will come together. They’ll understand what life still can be. Pain, anger, flaws and all, they’re determined to forge a loving way forward.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"With humor, heart, and honesty, William Dameron captures the chaos and beauty of bringing a blended family together as one. In their idyllic yet tiny cottage on the coast of Maine, two dads find themselves unexpectedly hosting all their (nearly) adult children, who bring with them a lot of psychic baggage - secrets, resentment, and the still-festering fallout of having a father who had to leave home to be true to himself. The Way Life Should Be is an unflinching yet unabashedly romantic ode to family, and I thoroughly loved it." - Karen Dukess

"Like the characters in William Dameron's The Way Life Should Be, I have driven across the Piscataqua River Bridge many times to go home. Dameron effortlessly captures the deep love of family and place and all the heartbreak, laughter, beauty, and joy they contain. It's a loving portrait of second chances." - Steven Rowley

"A raw and intimate look at the intricacies of a blended family, all under one too-small roof in a seaside Maine town. Dameron pulls you into this story of complicated family dynamics, where relationship bonds are tried, tested, and strengthened across three generations. A tale woven carefully and hilariously, with dad jokes, kindness, acceptance, and love. Come for the clever quips; stay for the honest portrayal of what it is to be human." - Noelle Salazar

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