Gina's Reviews > The Good Father

The Good Father by Noah Hawley
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Goodreads Description- As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.

Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.

Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.

This is an emotional journey of a father trying to find his son. As a doctor he wants to look at the facts and circumstances to figure out why Danny, his son, has assasinated a political candidate. However, he is treating it as a diagnosis and it is taking over his entire life. It is interesting how Paul, the father, compares his extensive investigation to medical diagnostics and definitely adds much more heft to the plot. It is sad, as the reader, to see the fall of the father. His decline in his desperation to save or vindicate his son not realizing he is putting his current family at risk. As a reader you can feel Paul's desperation and it made me wonder what I would do if I were in a similar situation. The reader almost knows that Paul's efforts are futile but Hawley definitely approaches the question of what is unconditional love and does it really extend to all circumstances. He asks questions about family, and nature vs nurture and made me think. Hawley puts his various opinions out there in the form of characters who sometimes play the "devil's advocate". Although this book isn't a political rant and the circumstances are around a politician, Hawley is not promoting one side or the other. This is a book about family, unconditional love, and other psychological issues. This is definitely a book I would recommend because it has so many aspects that readers can find interest in. 4 stars!
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06/03/2012 page 50
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