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Thompson School Professor Publishes First Novel

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
July 11, 2007

“Searching for Joy” Explores Father-Son Relationships, Cancer Diagnosis

Tim Barretto, associate professor of communications at the Thompson School of Applied Science, has published his first novel, “Searching for Joy” (Beech River Books, 2007). He is the first TSAS faculty member to publish a work of fiction.

Set in Portsmouth, “Searching for Joy” focuses on father-son relationships and the things most meaningful in life. The novel explores the difficult issues Tom Derringer, an architect, must deal with when he discovers he has prostrate cancer. Normally confident and self-assured, Derringer is shaken and forced to confront the meaning of his life and the possibility of his death. In the process he must come to understand — and come to terms with — himself, his wife and his son.

Drawing from the author’s favorite pastimes, “Searching for Joy” uses vivid scenes of fly fishing, skiing, and the complicated tensions of family to show how learning to enjoy life and to have a passion for living is one of the finer gifts one generation can pass on to another.

“Several years ago in Utah, I looked up the ski slope, a very steep pitch with deep powder, and watched these two figures skiing with grace and power and self-assurance,” Barretto recalls. “After a moment I realized the two skiers were my sons, and I was struck by two things: their styles were uniquely their own, not mine, and it was obvious they had learned to love to ski. I found this both humbling and rewarding, for they had surpassed me in precisely that way a father both welcomes and dreads. I hope the book in some way speaks to this inevitable paradox between fathers and sons.”

Barretto adds that he has been overwhelmed by the interest in his book by men and their families who are dealing with prostate cancer. “Prostate cancer is far more prevalent than I thought when I worked it into the plot of my book,” he says. “Survival rates are increasing, but the treatment can be very aggressive and involve extremely difficult and life-changing decisions for men.”

Barretto has taught at TSAS since 1986. Currently he is one of two full-time faculty members teaching in the school’s Community Leadership program, which he co-founded with colleague Kate Hanson in 2001. He has lived in Dover since 1979; there he has coached baseball, served on numerous local boards and committees, and helped found the HUB Family Resource Center, to which he plans to donate ten percent of the profits he receives from the book.

“Searching for Joy” (Center Ossipee, NH: Beech River Books. 2007, ISBN: 0-9793778-4-6) is available at local bookstores (UNH Bookstore and Durham Book Exchange in Durham, Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, and River Run Bookstore in Portsmouth) or by calling toll-free 1-888-874-6904.


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