The Good Father by Noah Hawley

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.


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


The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

Five words from the blurb: conventional, life, choices, right, uproar

It is almost impossible to review this book without giving away spoilers; in fact every review I’ve seen so far has mentioned something I’d have preferred to keep secret. As a compromise I’m going to let you know that this is a fantastic book. It deserves to become a word-of-mouth bestseller and if you enjoy entertaining books that don’t shy away from difficult subjects (e.g. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time or Room) then you are bound to love this one. If you don’t mind mild spoilers you are welcome to read on. Major spoilers will be written in white text – just highlight the passage to read it.

Alex Woods is seventeen-years-old. The book begins with a custom’s officer in Dover discovering a large amount of marijuana and an urn full of ashes in his car.

His gaze shifted, his eyes widened. He signalled for me to wait and spoke into his walkie-talkie, rapidly and with obvious agitation. That was the instant I knew for sure. I found out later that my picture had been circulated in every major port from Aberdeen to Plymouth. With that and the TV appeals, I never stood a chance.

The reason for the national manhunt is slowly revealed in a gripping narrative that effortlessly switches from humour to darkness.

I loved the build up and the way snippets of information were skilfully dropped through the text, but I’m afraid the ending wasn’t quite perfect. I felt the reader was subjected to a bit of a rant and whilst I agreed with point of view being made (subject revealed in spoiler below) I think the discussion was one sided. I’d have preferred to see the issues investigated in more depth, with some negative aspects included. This would have shown the full complexity of this difficult subject and the turmoil of emotion faced by the families of those involved. 


This book deals with euthanasia. The relationship between Alex and the elderly gentleman, Mr Peterson, was beautifully drawn. The subject was handled sensitively, but is bound to have a more profound effect on those who disagree that a person has a right to choose when they die.

Alex is a wonderful character and I loved the quirky, unpredictable course of his life. It will be fantastic to discuss this book with everyone and I’m looking forward to seeing it rush up the best seller charts.