As a parent, I always thought that the worst thing that could possibly happen would be to learn that your child has been severely injured or killed. The Good Father made me have a rethink about this though. What about learning that they've done something utterly terrible?
Paul Allen is a normal, run-of-the-mill family man. He's worked hard to build a comfortable life for himself, his wife and his twin boys. He's also managed to reconnect with his son from his first failed marriage. Life is good.
While watching TV and eating pizza together, the family are shocked to see that a well-liked presidential candidate, well on the way to the White House, has been assassinated. A bigger shock is to follow though - the murderer is none other than Daniel, Paul's son from his first marriage.
Paul does what any parent would do - he goes into denial, finding it impossible to comprehend that his son could do such a thing. He throws all of his energy into proving that his son is innocent or, at the very least, was coerced or cajoled into committing the crime. He starts blaming himself, thinking that the divorce and his absences during Daniel's childhood, may have created some hidden trauma that is now manifesting itself.
When Daniel finds himself on Death Row, Paul starts working backwards, following his son's last movements in a desperate search for understanding and, ultimately, acceptance.
It's a poignant and thought-provoking read, especially if you are a parent. When you see mentions of atrocities such as violent crime or murder on TV, particularly perpetrated by juveniles, it's easy to wonder what sort of upbringing they had and what the parents were like. The Good Father, albeit fiction, shows that kids sometimes go off the rails with no apparent reason.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £7.99
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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