The father-son relationship is normally a complicated one, but this one in particular reached new emotional heights. At times I was laughing, at other times I was stressed out and uncomfortable, and in others I was saddened.
Alan Ziegler took on the challenge of interweaving significant places in his life to stories that define who he is; each story centers on a place of deep meaning. He presents Yankee Stadium, school, Manhattan, college dorms, Fifth Avenue, and his girlfriend’s house, etc, but eventually ends up in the with his sick father.
Every inch of New York holds a stepping-stone in Ziegler’s life. It is the stable character in his growth with each coming year. Masterfully communicated is that connection between a father looking after his son in the beginning, and then the son returning the favor by taking care of his sickly father. At the end of his experiences, Ziegler takes the responsibility bestowed upon one indebted to a loving father after 43 years.
The Empire State Building becomes a character in the last story of the "Eight Stories." The elevator and the height of it become a villain . . . that person that everyone tries to avoid, afraid of what it, or they, might bring about. The elevator directly influences the story because it caused the two people to stay longer and talk about the father’s life.
All of the stories in this piece are touching but the ones that stood out to me the most are the stories about Ziegler and his unfaithful girlfriend and when he and his father went to the Empire State Building. Although I don't completely understand the girlfriend story, it story recognizes one of those awkward moments in life that act as a turning point in a relationship. When his girlfriend began to sob, it signified a confusing moment, but also a significant change in the relationship between the two people. This is something everyone has experienced at least once (not the same situation, but a similar moment) and it was bittersweet to relate to it.
The Empire State Building story is a bit more nostalgic. The father remembers a similar situation where he put his wife in the same position that his son puts him in, and begins to open up because of his recognition of this. The father and son bonding (almost a forced bonding because of father's fear of heights) was refreshing. It seemed that the relationship was finally been able to grow, when in the chaos of normal life, it was halted.