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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 7, 2008

New UI Press book reflects on starting a family later in life

"Great Expectation: A Father's Diary" by University of Iowa alumnus Dan Roche will become available from the University of Iowa Press on Aug. 15, 2008.

In "Great Expectation," Roche gives his perspective on what it means to start and expand a family relatively late in life. Through a series of diary entries -- by turns humorous, angst-ridden and full of hope and joy -- Roche describes his thoughts and concerns during the nine months of his wife's pregnancy.

With five years of parenting his irrepressible daughter Maeve under his belt, Roche, already 45 years old, and his wife, Maura, face the prospect of another arrival and the myriad of emotions that come with a second child.

From reveling in the joys of pregnancy, such as Maura's delight at "having cleavage" and being able to eat whatever she desires, to assuaging the parental anxieties of choosing the right obstetrician, correcting the mistakes one made with the first child and sending children to college in the future, Roche records his emotions with candidness and intimacy.

Jason Avant, founder and managing editor of, wrote: "Dan Roche has perfectly captured the unique joys and heartaches of being a second-time dad. Serious without being somber, reflective but not sentimental, and with an ever-present dry wit, 'Great Expectation' is a must-read for new and veteran dads alike."

And Elizabeth Stuckey-French, author of "Mermaids on the Moon," reported: "I loved spending time with Dan Roche and his family -- and what an important time it was as they faced life and death with courage, humor and grace. He takes us right into their house -- the kitchen, bedrooms and backyard -- to remind us again of the importance of each day we are given. His prose is as beautiful as it is efficient. Now we have a father who has written, as Anne Lamott did in 'Operating Instructions' and Louise Erdrich in 'The Blue Jay's Dance,' about the coming of a child. Mothers and children but especially fathers will thank him."

Roche is an assistant professor in the English department at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He is also the author of "Love's Labors: A Memoir of Marriage and Divorce," and his essays have appeared in the North American Review, Under the Sun, and the Journal. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate from the UI.

"Great Expectation" is part of the UI Press Sightline series of literary nonfiction.

"Great Expectation" will be available for sale at bookstores or directly from the University of Iowa Press by phone at 1-800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Thomas, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,