To Daddy, Who I Never Loved





Born Gary Robert Pinnell in Oceanside, CA., 1952

Attended San Diego, CA, Empire, OK and Duncan, OK schools. Dropped out of high school four times. Diploma from Rush Springs HS, 1971.

Delivered Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma City Times paper routes from ages 11-13.

Soda jerked at Tastee Freeze, car hopped at Sonic, fried chicken at Jim Dandy, sold clothing at The Ranch, Silverman’s, Rothschild’s; lugged meat at a packing plant, climbed wooden water towers to replace rotten boards; unloaded box cars, cleaned grease pits and offices at Halliburton.

BA from OU in political science, 1983; MA from OU in journalism, 1992.

Reported for or edited 13 newspapers in Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.

Won or shared two dozen newspaper awards, 1976 to 2017. 

Taught literature and English grammar courses at four community colleges in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Taught 36 writing seminars at Highlands Art League, Sebring, FL.

Won short story and novel writing awards from Florida Writers Association and Oklahoma Writers Association. 

Retired in 2017.

Authored fictional memoir, To Daddy, Who I Never Loved, 2020.

Debut novel

By 2006, I had read thousands of books, and like every want-to-be, I wanted write one. 

I was already a writer. I had moved from a weekly in Woodstock, Virginia to Highlands Today in Sebring, Florida, my 13th newspaper, but whipping out 300-word newspaper stories every day wasn’t the same as plotting and writing a 300-page novel. I needed help to get started. I went to Books-A-Million and the library and found dozens of writing books on the shelves. However, the more I read, the more I knew what I didn’t know. Where could I get more training?

Lucky me, Florida is Mecca for writers. In the next few years, I found Vic Digenti’s novel-in-a-day workshop and Sharon Y. Cobb’s how-to-write-comedy workshop at the University of North Florida, the Florida Writers Association conference in Orlando, the Florida Heritage Writers Conference in St. Augustine, and finally Patricia Charpentier’s memoir classes in Orlando. 

By 2012, I used Patricia’s prompts to finish a memoir. However, the result was only 11,000 words, not long enough for a book. I incorporated that material into a novel. Eight years later, after buying four dozen writerly (is that a legit adverb?) books and attending seminars all over the peninsula, I finished a 76,000-word fiction manuscript.


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This novel was originally called by the waaaay-too-pretentious title, The Sociological Plight of Fatherless Boys.

An Amazon search showed several novels with the next title, Daddy Issues, including one that was – judging by its cover – incestuously homoerotic.

After years of searching for an original title, I finally settled on To Daddy, Who I Never Loved.

Buy the book

Both the paperback ($16) and the ebook ($4) are available on 

The 319-page trade paperback is also available at:

The Full Circle Bookstore, 50 Penn Place, OKC

Literati Press Bookshop, 3010 Paseo, OKC

Best of Books, 1313 E Danforth Road, Edmond

I sell autographed copies on Amazon:

Also, mail a $16 check (free shipping) to: 9614 Berkeley Court, OKC, OK 73162. Readers may: + Ask for the author’s signature. + Ask the author for an inscription of the reader’s choice. + Ask the author to choose an inscription.

Drop By

Gary Robert Pinnell still has not won the zillion dollar Powerball Lottery jackpot, so he lives in an oh-so-modest Oklahoma City home.


Themes include sex, drugs, racism, violence, suicide, bullying, molestation, lovemaking, and self-harm, which may upset or offend some readers.

Fatherlessness is one central theme of To Daddy, Who I Never Loved (319 pages, 76,000 words).

The U.S. Census estimates twenty million children today – one in four – live without fathers in their homes. Some never get the opportunity to love their daddies. 

The other central theme is bullying. Everyone has daddy issues or mommy problems or sibling rivalries.

One in three younger siblings are intimidated so successfully by older brothers or sisters, they become meek. They are further bullied at school, and are frequent victims of child sexual abuse.

Let’s talk

Gary Robert Pinnell is available for media interviews, to teach writing classes, and well-paid (smile) speaking engagements. He is knowledgeable about the Hero’s Journey, running away from home in the 1960s, hitchhiking halfway across the country, the horror-inducing state of modern journalism, how to write a novel in eight years, and living as meagerly as possible on Social Security.


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Curtis Pye is hyperliterate; by age 15, he’s read one quarter of the books in Hell Creek High School Library. 

Oklahoma schools are ordered to racially integrate in 1967, and to mainstream with special-needs students. Curtis, dark-skinned, curly-haired and of indeterminate race, is considered white. He is the first student to make friends with a black girl, Sammie Davis, and to befriend a Downs student, Stanley Jones.

Curtis has never spoken with a girl, but falls hopelessly, hormonally, despairingly infatuated with O’Murphy Scott.

Murph has set her mouth for the wrong sort of boys, and every time she isn’t with Scooter Andersen, her thuggy boyfriend assumes she’s with Curtis. Scooter, Spit and Pickle Andersen pick a disastrous fight with Curtis. All four are ordered not to return to school.

Since he was a baby, Curtis has been bullied by his brother, Biggy. After yet another fight, Curtis swallows a bottle of aspirin, but suicide fails.

Jonathan Robert Pye spends his Marine career stationed in Japan and North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, and philandering everywhere he goes. When Curtis Pye is 9, his mother, Ginny, leaves her husband and moves her children back to Oklahoma. Curtis’s opportunity to know his father is gone. 

Curtis finds a letter with his father’s  post office box address in Palo Alto, California, but no street address or phone number.

Sammie suggests Curtis’ father, an ex-Marine, could train Curtis how to fight, so Curtis hitchhikes 1,700 miles from Hell Creek, Oklahoma to Palo Alto, California. He sleeps in trucks, in ditches, on a rooftop, and in a laundromat. He learns from mentors: truck drivers, a college student, and a soldier.

Curtis waits by a P.O. box and hopes each day his daddy will come. 

Hippies on their way to the Summer of Love direct Curtis to the Full Circle, a communal restaurant in Palo Alto where he works for meals and a safe place to sleep. 

At the Full Circle, Curtis finds a temporary home, friends, and acceptance. He meets Brother Love, a postal worker, street preacher and psychologist who completes Curtis’s education. Brother Love arms Curtis emotionally to complete his hero’s journey, fight his battles and understand life.

Curtis discovers his own courage, independence, confidence and redemption. 

Months after he leaves Oklahoma, Curtis, who thought he was the most invisible boy in high school, returns to Hell Creek and finds himself regarded as a local Jack Kerouac. 

As he bicycles past O’Murphy’s house, Curtis finds Spit and Scooter assaulting O’Murphy. He fights the Andersens again, and earns Murph’s respect.


Copyright © 2020 Gary Robert Pinnell

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