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Publisher's Summary

“Dan Robson’s book is a heart-wrenching portrait of grief. Anyone who has lost a parent will recognize it, know it intimately as you roll through the stages and finally come to the realization that a parent’s ultimate gift to a child is showing them how to live.” (Tanya Talaga, best-selling author of Seven Fallen Feathers)

A tender memoir of fathers and sons, love and loss, and learning to fill boots a size too big.

Dan Robson’s father is a builder, a fixer. A man whose high-school education is enough not only to provide for his family, but to build a successful business. Rick Robson holds things up. When he dies, nothing in his son’s world feels steady anymore. In a very real sense, the home his father had built is suddenly fragile. Without its natural caretaker, the house will fall to pieces - and his family shows all the same signs of crumbling.

Dan is hit especially hard. He knows he is not the man his father was. Dan never learned the blue-collar skills he admired, because his father wanted him to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. Now that his father is gone, the acknowledgment of his sacrifices and the sheer longing to be close to him again in some way draw Dan to the tools that lie unused in the garage. So begins Dan’s year of learning the skills his father’s hands had long mastered, and trying to fill the steel-toe boots left behind. Measuring Up is the story of that journey.

Robson picks up where his father left off, working on the house and the truck, as much for the family as for himself. In much the same way that Michael Pollan comes to know his house inside-out in A Place of My Own, Robson learns the mysteries and proud satisfaction of plumbing, carpentry, wiring, and drywalling, and comes to understand how our homes are built. He also comes to see how his home was built by his father, uncovering more than one heartbreaking reminder of the kind of man his father was, and what he meant to his family.

Tender and unflinching, Measuring Up is a story of love, mourning, and what it means to use your calloused hands to make the world around you a better place to live. 

©2021 Dan Robson (P)2021 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

“A beautiful, clear-eyed elegy to families. How the foundation is laid, how the structure is crafted, and, eventually, how all of us have to manage its collapse. Dan Robson’s memoir is about sons and fathers. More than that, it’s about the hard road that leads from being one to becoming the other.” (Cathal Kelly, author of Boy Wonders)

“Dan Robson’s book is a heart-wrenching portrait of grief. Anyone who has lost a parent will recognize it, know it intimately as you roll through the stages and finally come to the realization that a parent’s ultimate gift to a child is showing them how to live.” (Tanya Talaga, best-selling author of Seven Fallen Feathers)

“Dan Robson skillfully constructs a monument to the legacy of his craftsman father. It is a testament to the unbreakable bond between every father and son. It inspires each of us to a straighter plumb, a truer square, and a higher level.” (Murray Howe, best-selling author of Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father)

What listeners say about Measuring Up

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  • Matt Walker
  • 2021-07-05

Great listen for anyone (especially a son or dad)

I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect when listening to this book, but I couldn’t stop listening. I found myself taking the long way home and spending a few more minutes in the driveway just so I could keep on listening.
I love that the book is narrated by the author. It feels like the true emotions of what was originally being penned down is coming right through the speakers.
I generally find it difficult to express how I feel about any relationship, especially the one with my father (because there is nothing else that compares). The author is able to describe the different stages of the relationship along the years from a child, adolescent, adult and then finally at the end as a father himself.

Great read. I highly recommend

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  • Randall Y
  • 2021-05-24

Men and their Sons...

I was in tears a few times. The book touched my heart and soul. This relationship plays out in its many places but mostly in our memories for ever.