Broke Dad Shares Story About ‘Harry Potter’ And JK Rowling Responds


Everyone imagines their life and their child’s will be a fairy tale, but that’s not always the case.

Single dad Matt Burke just opened up about his parenting journey in a heartfelt essay that anyone who’s struggled to provide for a family can relate to.

“We start thinking of the plans for the extravagant birthday parties,” he wrote in a now-viral essay  “The spoiling on Christmases or other gift-exchanging holidays, the trips to Disney or Six Flags, summer vacations and the like. That’s all fun and good, but what happens when life flips the script and you get caught on the receiving end of being a broke, single parent?”

As the story goes on, Matt talks about how, as he often can’t afford toys or even internet access for 9-year-old Bailey, they’ve turned to books for entertainment and bonding. And most recently, the father-daughter duo has picked up the Harry Potter series.

What happens next is simply magical.

The story resonates thanks to Matt’s candor.

The story resonates thanks to Matt's candor.

Talking about difficult financial situations in a public forum can be tough — which explains why his story has gotten so much attention.

Working as a photographer has barely made ends meet. Matt wrote that, “The rent checks, the utility bills, the grocery checkouts, the car payments, and the rest of the financial responsibilities so many of us are strapped with have always eaten up the entirety of my paychecks before I’ve been able to provide for the fun times.”

He’s been creative — and successful — at finding ways to entertain his little girl.

He's been creative — and successful — at finding ways to entertain his little girl.

“We’ve developed a set of activities that we are able to take part in and have fun with, all while getting to know each other on a deeper level without much, if any, of a monetary cost to me.”

“The main thing that occupies us these days,” Matt continues, “is reading books together. Through my own recent love of reading, I acquired a library card for myself, as well as one for her, so that we can check out all of the books we want and read them as wanted over their 21 day checkout period. This has led us to some absolutely incredible times, even better conversations, as well as memories that I wouldn’t change for the world.”

And their recent reading binge has focused on Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hogwarts.

And their recent reading binge has focused on Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hogwarts.

Matt admits he wasn’t thrilled at the prospect initially: “I was a little bit hesitant about getting involved in it because even in my mid 30’s I still seem to think I’m too cool for some things, but I’m not too cool to admit when I’m wrong and here I am, admitting I was wrong. At the time of this writing, we’re halfway through the 2nd book, and we’re having an absolute BLAST reading them together.”

The story quickly found an audience online.

The story quickly found an audience online.

Parents came out of the woodwork to encourage Matt with words of support.

There’s no way Matt could have expected this amount of response, nor that so many people would relate to his essay

Praise was handed out not just for his bravery in sharing but also for how moving the writing itself was.

But of course, the real world-shattering surprise was when the “Harry Potter” author herself responded to the essay.

But of course, the real world-shattering surprise was when the "Harry Potter" author herself responded to the essay.

Little piece of trivia: JK Rowling was broke and on welfare as a single parent while writing Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, so Matt’s story clearly hit a soft spot.

And of course, everyone promptly went nuts all over again once JK herself got involved.

And of course, everyone promptly went nuts all over again once JK herself got involved.

The author once again won the internet, judging by the responses to her tweet.

Fans replied in the from of gifs.

And in egregiously long chains of emojis.

And many were eager to share their own stories about how Harry Potter had molded their own family lives.

But no one was more excited than Matt and Bailey.

But no one was more excited than Matt and Bailey.

Matt’s been thanking JK profusely and doing everything he can to respond to the huge amount of attention his story has received since going viral.

And hopefully a gift from one of the most successful writers alive will only inspire Bailey to keep reading for the rest of her life.



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