Wave to Papa explores the cycle of abuse in which battered women are forced to chose between their husbands and their children.
After Dawn’s disastrous first marriage, in which her husband was sexually inappropriate with her two daughters, she divorces him but leaves her autistic daughter behind with him, because of the “better schooling for her there”.
Dawn is committed to making her second marriage, to a man named Dan, work. Her daughter Ann doesn’t like Dan and with good reason. Dan is abusive to her baby, half-brother Noah. So when Ann speaks up about it after the first time, tensions rise with Dan and Ann. Dawn, already caught in a cycle of abuse spanning from childhood and her first marriage, is torn as her faith is firm and she wants her marriage to work. But after a second major incident with Dan and Noah, the family is torn apart.
We follow Dawn through her journey in her commitment to her husband and her commitment to her children. Wave to Papa is a compelling story because it shows us exactly what the cycle of abuse can do to the psyche. In giving us the truth, Lee has created characters that rip you apart. From despising Dawn and her decisions to cheering on Ann in her independance and heartbreak over poor Noah and the Department of Children and Families fight to help children, and the limitations they are often bound by. In a well written and heartbreaking tale, we frustratingly see the conflict that goes on with Dawn in where her loyalties lie, which is sadly what happens all across the world, every day. Wave to Papa is a heartbreaking tale which shows us not just what the cycle of abuse can do to a person but just how much work is needed to fix the system involved in helping families.