Alisha Marie's Reviews > The Good Father

The Good Father by Noah Hawley
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Feb 12, 12

bookshelves: amazon-vine, contemporary-fiction, tearjerkers
Read in January, 2012

I've mentioned before that when it comes to senseless acts of violence, the family of the accused are the people that I tend to forget about. Of course, you remember the victims and due to that, you remember the perpetrator, but the perpetrator's family is almost never thought about and when they are it's mostly to vilify them for bringing a monster into the world. Sometimes, I feel like the perpetrators' families are also victims (unless, of course, they had something to do with the crimes and/or hid them and didn't do anything to stop them).

The Good Father raises an interesting question in what makes a good parent. If it was your child who had committed a deplorable act, would you stand by them? If you had unshakeable proof that they had indeed committed this act, would you keep searching for answers that would exonerate them? Would you do it to the extent of ignoring your present family? This is what Dr. Paul Allen was doing when his son was committed of murdering a presidential candidate. The lengths he goes through to try to save his son are admirable. But then again, does that make him a good father? It's easy to read about his (fictional) situation and think "He really should just stop and deal with the reality of what happened instead of wasting time and money in a fruitless search", but if it was your own kid, I think most people would go through the same lengths that Dr. Paul Allen did.

Besides the interesting questions that The Good Father seemed to raise, I liked the way that Hawley got into the Dr. Allen's head. You could feel his inner turmoil and his guilt for the act that Danny committed. Hawley also did a tremendous job in getting into Danny's head. It was intriguing (and frightening) to see the transformation from Danny (young man who was just trying to find himself) to Carter Allen Cash (sick young man who murdered a presidential candidate and therefore destroyed some of America's collected hope). It was so disturbing to see how some miniscule moments (to those who didn't experience them) can change someone and just screw with their whole life. This was even more obvious with the included true-crime tidbits of other young men who committed deplorable acts.

I found The Good Father to be an emotionally-wrenching and disturbing read. I think it gives a fairly good insight into what must be going through the minds of the perpetrators' families and it is an eye-opener in every sense of the word.
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