Many of us have been there and come through sadder but wiser for the experience. Mine happened years ago, before I was married, and involved my parents’ ongoing marital battles. The amazing thing about this seventeen year bout of familial discord, that visibly wore my dad down was that my older brother and I managed to shield ourselves from its direst moments. Either we hung out with our friends or plugged our ears when the squabbling started. As those flareups got worse, they, unfortunately, were left to our younger brother and sister to endure, resulting in deep emotional scars in later years. Reading this short memoir by Norwegian writer Knausgaard about a similar experience of his growing up in a dysfunctional home brings some memories of how I personally survived this crisis. In the story, the mother is going through a serious bout of depression that borders on the suicidal. She is about to give birth to their fourth child when she starts to turn inward. Moodiness, melancholy and fatalism take over her life. She starts seeing a shrink as well as hiding away from the family. Everything is left to the father including looking after the children, an overwhelming task at that. Though this man will step up to keep the family together during this rough patch, it won’t be easy. The arrival of Spring will overtake the discontent of winter only when the new child arrives and the mother experiences a rekindling of her maternal instincts and is able to get back to normal living. For my siblings and me, dad was the one who got us through the tough times by being there to talk to, encourage, and shield when things threatened to get out of hand. You see, he could have abandoned the marriage and left us with Mum but that would have robbed us of a much needed father figure to introduce us to the big outside world. Unlike in Knausgaard’s memoir, later life proved just as bumpy because, while Dad learned to handle his spouse with respect to his children, once he died, she turned on us. Fortunately, we had those many years of Dad’s wisdom and strong marriages to work our way through that challenge.