The Good Father by Noah Hawley

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The Good Father

Five words from the blurb: son, killed, President, questions, guns

The Good Father is a compelling novel that shows how a father reacts when he discovers that his son has shot the next President of America. It questions how responsible parents are for their children’s actions, whilst also including information about other assassinations in recent history.

This book was fast paced and gripping throughout, but it failed to come to any new conclusions. The issue of parental responsibility was covered with far more depth and emotion in We Need to Talk About Kevin; so although this book came from the slightly different perspective of the father, I felt as though it was treading on old ground.

I sat carefully on the edge of the bed. Between us I felt the weight of so much history. I was the father who had divorced his mother when he was seven. I was the absent dad, the one who had missed birthday phone calls, who had forgotten to send presents. I was the weekend dad, the summer-vacation dad. …What did he owe me? Why should I expect a straight answer?

Over the course of the book the father researched conspiracy theories and this interesting information allowed the reader to join the father in questioning his son’s innocence. This merging of fact and fiction was the best aspect of the book and I loved the way other high profile murderers were compared with each other in the futile attempt to find a link between them all.

There were many twists and turns and, although none were especially surprising, they were entertaining enough to keep the reader interested. This book will be loved by those who found We Need to Talk About Kevin too dense and disturbing.

Overall it was a light, entertaining read, but it didn’t have the insight I’d hoped for.

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The thoughts of other bloggers:

…an intensely powerful book that is gripping from start to finish. The Little Reader Library

The story itself did not wow me. Bibliophile By the Sea

..a fascinating portrait of life, death, family, love, responsibility…all mixed up with some wonderful psychology! Shooting Stars Mag


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10 Comments

  1. Sarah W says:

    I thought the conspiracy theory bits were probably the best parts of the book, they gave an ambiguity to the story that I enjoyed. But I agree with you that We Need To Talk About Kevin is much more forceful. I felt the ambiguity ultimately didn’t go anywhere, and the father didn’t have much to reproach himself for, so I was left a bit unsatisfied.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sarah, I thought the conspiracy sections were well done and I wish they’d played a greater role in the book. I agree about the ambiguity not going anywhere – such a shame as there were a lot of promising aspects of the book.

  2. Jeanne says:

    So is this one fiction? It shouldn’t be this hard to tell, should it?

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeanne, The story is fiction, but there are a lot of references to real assassinations. Sorry I didn’t make that clearer.

  3. Kathleen says:

    We Need to Talk About Kevin is certainly the gold standard for books that focus on parental responsibility for horrible crimes. This one sounds interesting but nearly as compelling.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, I feel sorry for books that try to do something when there is already a masterpiece out there doing it. I might have enjoyed this book more if Kevin didn’t exist.

  4. Jenny says:

    Too bad it wasn’t more thoughtful. A story like this has so much potential to explore interesting issues — as We Need to Talk about Kevin (evidently) does. Oh I still need to read that.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, Yes. Read Kevin – it is an amazing book!

  5. I got part way through Kevin many years ago and found it too bleak/dark/not sure what word I’m looking for. I’d like to try it again one day. Perhaps why this one was a real winner for me, just a shade less disturbing. I’m glad you liked the parts in the book merging fact and fiction too. Thank you for kindly linking my review of this one, much appreciated.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, I can see why some people find Kevin too disturbing and that explains why you love this one so much. It does cover most of the important lessons described in Kevin – just in a simpler, less disturbing way. Glad you enjoyed it!

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