Prodigal Father Wayward Son: A Roadmap to Reconciliation

Sam Keen and Gifford Keen

$16.95, Paperback, 344 pages

ISBN: 978-1-61125-037-4

eBook ISBN: 9781611250381

APRIL 2015


Amazon link: Prodigal Father Wayward Son


Prodigal Father Wayward Son is the long awaited sequel to the bestselling Fire in the Belly and a crowning achievement of a remarkable literary career. It is also an impressive debut of a young writer that proves the adage “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.  The rebellion of the 60’s and 70’s is writ large in the struggles between a driven father and an irrepressible son. From adventures to marriages to split ups to drugs to abandonment and to finding a way back. Sam Keen – groundbreaking philosopher and author of the bestselling Fire in the Belly helps define a movement while wreaking chaos at home; Gifford Keen – a wild-eyed blond California surfer boy has a bad knack for doing things the hard way until he stumbles into great success. Yet a surprise reconciliation awaits….

A moving account of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation that sets it apart from any other books in this genre, Prodigal Father Wayward Son provides guidance and inspiration to those looking for positive role models and teaches new ways to move beyond old wounds by offering concrete methods to overcome long standing enmities and misunderstanding.

For a conversation between Sam and Gifford about the book go to:



“The brutal candor of these exchanges between an estranged father and son caught in a vicious cycle of competition and incomprehension can be hard to take. Stick with it. Both have hurt each other so much that reconciliation comes hard. But what they prove in the end is that the statute of limitations can run out on the wrong we do to one another. Every father and son, mother and daughter, parent and child should exult in the Keens’ discovery that it is never too late to start over.”

—Bill Moyers

“A courageous look at father-and-son struggles over the years. This universal and archetypal [conflict] is the inheritance of us all. I identified with Sam, and found insights about my son through Gifford’s sharing. Their method of reconciliation is a ‘gift’ for us all. Here is a raw human story that has a joyful ending.”

—John Bradshaw, author of Post-Romantic Stress Disorder: What to Do When the Honeymoon Is Over

“In this fine book, honest and eloquent pain spills across every page. This open-hearted sharing is in the service of great teachings. Many fathers and sons will read this and see a path forward.”

—Mary Pipher, author of The Green Boat

“Prodigal Father, Wayward Son is the most heart-opening book I have ever read. On the surface, it is about virtually every dad and son. Beneath the surface, it opened my heart to further removing the walls between myself and those I yearn to more deeply love. Its fierce honesty and loving grace lead the way. Of Sam Keen’s many terrific books, this is my vote for his best.”

—Warren Farrell, author of Father and Child Reunion

“Moving and inspiring; this groundbreaking book is the story of father and son overcoming the broken bond of trust and love. Sam Keen, a most trusted voice in our culture for 50 years, and his son Gifford, equally strong and compelling, show a way through struggle and radical honesty that allows fathers and sons to overcome long-festering estrangement and become the best of friends.”

—Linda Carroll, author of Love Cycles

“Sam and Gifford Keen embody the redemptive power of honest storytelling in their extraordinarily revealing book Prodigal Father, Wayward Son. This father / son relationship is transformed by telling many stories beyond the damaging ones that have kept them apart. The message of this book moves beyond fathers and sons to any intimate relationship that is controlled by a handful of old myths.”

—Herbert Anderson, coauthor of Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals and coauthor (with Karen Speerstra) of The Divine Art of Dying

“T.S. Eliot writes that ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.’ Gifford and Sam Keen’s book Prodigal Father, Wayward Son lays out in raw, intensely honest form, through a sharing of letters, the story of their reconciliation. To be a witness to their own ‘knowing’ that place of forgiveness, acceptance, and love gives hope that it is never too late to make up and (re)birth a parent / child relationship.”

—Lee Rush, trainer and consultant, International Institute for Restorative Practices and member, International Mankind Project

“A very brave book about healing. It movingly portrays the very words and process of reconciliation between a father and a son: The courageous voicing and healing of old wounds and deep shame. Underneath that, they discover the deeper love that was always there, but thwarted. You can’t read this book without wishing it could happen in your own family. Of course it can. May this book inspire healing and the rediscovery of love in our families, communities, and the world. We sure need it.”

—Glen Schneider, author of Ten Breaths to Happiness

“In their simply yet elegantly told story, the Keens have laid bare the inevitable struggles of fathers and sons. It is a book rich with compelling and engaging anecdotes that reveal male foolishness, abuses of power, and repeated rejections halted only by a painfully awkward — but inspiring and insightful — pursuit of reconciliation.”

—Bill Jersey, film producer / Peabody Award winner



Sam Keen is author of a baker’s dozen other books. When not writing or traveling around the world, he lectures and leads seminars on a wide range of topics. He lives on his farm in the hills above Sonoma, CA.
Gifford Keen has had careers as a software executive, a, carpenter and a real estate investor. He is the father of a teen age son and daughter and lives with his wife in Santa Fe NM, where he writes, meditates, practices yoga, and takes long walks in the high-country.