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The Perfect Son

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  12,958 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews
From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.

A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the f
Kindle Edition, 398 pages
Published July 1st 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
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Marycan Not really, not in the usual Tourette's way. Swearing is never a tic, for example. It felt as if the writer knew somebody with Tourette's, or maybe sh…moreNot really, not in the usual Tourette's way. Swearing is never a tic, for example. It felt as if the writer knew somebody with Tourette's, or maybe she just researched it well. I enjoyed the way the boy dealt with it, as did Max.(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,958 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Felix is an investment banker - somewhat rigid with OCD perfectionists qualities.
He needs order, and rules in his life. He's a workaholic who functions best
his to-do lists He has left the domestic and parent duties to his wife Ella.

Ella, has been the loving caretaker to her son for the past 17 years ...she's been the 'Super-Mom'.
Their son, Harry is brilliant and handsome. He is a Junior in high school he also has
Tourette's and other neurological disorders Ella has been the type of mother wh
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.75 stars (it was a solid 4 stars until the last 3 or 4 chapters). I read The Perfect Son on a whim. I have a very long reading list, lots of books in the "must get to immediately" queue, but couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to read next. Then I read Elyse's review of The Perfect Son, got curious and downloaded it immediately. I started reading the first few pages to see if this was the right book to fit my restless reading mood, and the next thing I knew I was immersed and hooked. The P ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
The first 50% of this book was a solid 2.5 stars. Utterly "meh", completely forgettable, and I was only plugging along because it was part of a reading challenge. I couldn't believe this was a 2015 GoodReads nominee for Best Fiction (makes me think that more people need to expand their reading horizons!)

Thankfully the book picked up and actually got me thinking. Lots of good food for thought about accepting one's children for who they are, letting go, how easy it is for a marriage to become stal
Paige P
By the description of The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White, I thought I would love it, but sadly I was disappointed and could not make myself finish the book. The story is about a family coping through the heart attack of an over controlling mother, a neurotic father and a brillant son diagnosed with ADHD and Tourette's. I found the characters complete exaggerations of people with these diagnoses and I felt that this book added to the stigmatism of real people living with these challenges. ...more
Nick Pageant
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gen-fic
Wow! Another great BR with Alona. If you want to read a good book, read with Alona. I've become convinced she improves the quality of the books she reads.

So, this was really lovely. It's all about fathers and sons and what it means to be a parent. I really loved it. I had to take off one star because it does move quite slowly at times, but the payoff was worth it.
Judy D Collins
Gifted and talented writer, Barbara Claypole White delivers a poignant and complex story of a flawed yet remarkable family, THE PERFECT SON --unglued from life’s tragedies. A journey of finding their way back to some sense of normal; while facing their imperfections with the help of one another, love, family, friends, and a compassionate neighbor. Stepping outside your comfort zone!

A heart-warming story of love --Ella and Felix met while she fainted in his arms on the tube in London years bef
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was eagerly looking forward to my first Barbara Claypole White book and I was not disappointed. The way she handles a very tough subject, a son with neurological issues and Tourette Syndrome, is just perfect. I felt that this book was a tete-a-tete between characters. Felix and Ella, Ella and Harry, Harry and Felix, Felix and Eudora, Katherine and Felix, Max and Harry, having these private conversations and the tale is woven with all these conversational threads. I found it interesting how the ...more
Barbara Davis
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like a box of fine chocolates, Barbara Claypole White’s latest novel will leave you wanting to savor each and every page. The Perfect Son is a witty, poignant, and sometimes irreverent story about a family in crisis, peopled with characters we--sometimes surprisingly—find ourselves falling in love with as they struggle to reinvent themselves in the face of terrifying trials. This author pulls no punches when dealing with her character’s flaws, stripping away easy stereotypes and misconceptions t ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers that loved Me Before You

5 Stars! Beautiful, bittersweet, emotional family drama.

I hated Felix throughout much of the book, but by the end he was my hero. Harry was amazing, a sweet loving boy, that despite his Tourette's syndrome, embraced life and tried to live as normal as possible. Ella, dear sweet Ella, desperately loved the 2 men in her life but it took her failing health to bring them together. Some wonderful secondary characters, especially Max, Harry's best friend. Everyone should have a Max in their life! The
Normandie Fischer
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In a world filled with cries for perfection, be it of body, performance, or mind, Barbara Claypole White brings us a story of the imperfect. And then she makes us fall in love with her messy crew.

I consider this nothing short of brilliant. BCW began this journey into the world of flawed characters in The Unfinished Garden, and I fell in love with James as he battled OCD. In The Perfect Son, she explores flawed people of differing ages dealing with other flawed people—and doing it badly—until a
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this from the Amazon first read program some time ago and it had languished on my to read list for some time. Truthfully a lot of the titles from that program have been pretty forgettable. But this one was a game changer.
A disconnected father is forced into the role of active parent when his wife suffers a devastating heart attack. A teenager with Tourettes Syndrome and other complex neurological issues has to learn to cope differently with his new reality. And a mother struggles to f
Erin Clemence
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I received a free E-version of this novel through NetGalley.
“The Perfect Son” by Barbara Claypole-White jumps into the action right away. A woman sitting on board a plane has a heart attack, causing an emergency landing. Once on land she is rushed to the hospital, where her English husband and son (suffering from Tourette’s syndrome as well as ADHD and anxiety) run to her side.
Once this part of the novel is over though, the excitement stops. I read the entire novel waiting for the rest of the
Catherine McKenzie
I really enjoyed this book. Thoughtful, well researched, good characters. Check it out!
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by Barbara Claypole White and I can't wait to read another. I really liked this story and the characters. Father and son who are on two completely opposites, one with Tourette syndrome and the other with Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, must learn to deal with each other when the wife/mother has a massive heart attack and is in the hospital.

I enjoyed the father and son relationship as it grew thanks to a couple of good friends and a quirky outgoing neighbor. One
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

When Ella Fitzwilliam is hospitalised after a life threatening heart attack her workaholic husband, Felix, is forced to assume the daily care of his teenage son, Harry. Harry is a bright, handsome sixteen year old, with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD and anxiety, and father and son struggle to cope in Ella's absence.

Told from the perspectives of White's three main characters, Harry, Ella and Felix, The Perfect Son is a heart warming and poignant story about family, acceptance, trust and love. The chang
The Perfect Son is an emotional and thoughtful character led story surrounding a family and how it deals with a son who has Tourette’s syndrome and a mother with heart problems.

At times this was quite emotionally challenging, but the story flowed well, although perhaps a little slowly at first. The characters were well developed and believable. Overall, I enjoyed this story.

I borrowed this in audiobook format through Kindle Unlimited.
Another great BR with Nick!

This is a story about family.
A somewhat complicated family at that.

Ella- a former jewelry designer that is a stay-at-home mom for the last 17 years to her only son Harry.

Harry- a 17 year old boy. Intelligent, sensitive and handsome (like his parents) who also suffers from Tourette syndrome (as well as ADHD and anxiety). He is amazing, and his mother's love and devotion to him shows in everything that he is.

And Felix- a proper Englishman. He is a workaholic investment b
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Claypole White had me at “hello.” Okay, not actually “hello,” but… Since White’s debut novel, The Unfinished Garden, I have been an ardent fan of her writing. Her books are filled with wonderfully drawn, but flawed, characters that you just can’t help falling in love with—sometimes in spite of yourself. White has a passion for creating characters dealing with neurological and psychological issues. And then, with great skill, she dismantles the stereotypes that surround those issues until ...more
Barbara White
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well…I had fun with this one, that's all I can say. :)
Sharon Metcalf
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2020
3.5 stars
The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White, my first title by this author, was a good read and on the whole I enjoyed the experience. Several years ago I went through a phase of only reading books where I was fairly confident there'd be a happily ever after (hea) ending in store. If I'm honest I still love my hea's so I am surprised to find myself commenting that some parts were overly sweet, perhaps a bit too perfect. Did this spoil the read for me? Not in the least, but if your thresho
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010s
Liked the premise and mostly loved the execution. Characters were lovable and interesting for the most part, although Ella was mostly secondary as far as main plot was concerned. Everything was a bit too hunky dory for me, the conflict wasn't really hashed out enough (Katherine wanted Ella to leave Felix but once she sees him high, she immediately adores him and makes sure he's fed and taken care of, huh?). The ending seemed a bit rushed (why did Sammie and Harry break up and if so, why would sh ...more
Agnes (BeaderBubbe)
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
A warm emotional story of a family fighting to keep it all together. The husband Felix trying to be perfect and in control. Their special needs son Harry who is fighting his own battle. And Ella the mother and backbone of the family who keeps it all together. Her massive heart attack brings them all closer together and gives them all exactly what they need. A bond they didnt know they had. Great book.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely delightful. It's all about the characters in this book- Ms White threads a wonderful web around their imperfections, which are many, and the result is one that will keep you reflecting on the importance of family and friends for a long time. I had a minor issue with part of the ending and that almost cost it half a star but in the end I rounded it up to 5 because it's not very often that one comes across such a beautiful depiction of the intricate elements that make up a family.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different yet interesting story that includes Tourette's Syndrome, heart problems, OCPD, family, friends and relationships. The Pefect Son has fully rounded characters - ALL of them. The main characters are quirky and go through an incredible journey that makes one think. Loved, loved the secondary characters. I want a friend like Eudora! Not crazy about the ending but I really liked the book. I would recommend it! 4.5 stars!
Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)

Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White is rated 3 stars because while most of this book was very engaging and well done, the last few chapters of the book were too unbelievable to warrant a 4 star rating. This is a book which shows flawed and authentic characters
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women's fiction lovers who enjoy flawed characters who are redeemed.
Review courtesy of The Zest Quest. Recommended Read!

Having loved THE UNFINISHED GARDEN by Barbara Claypole White, my expectations were high and they were easily met and surpassed by THE PERFECT SON.

Ella has spent the majority of her married life caring for their son Harry, while her husband Felix, an investment banker, earns the living necessary to pay for the numerous specialists required for a child with Tourette’s. When Ella becomes seriously ill, it’s up to Felix, a perfectionist who is not
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White was a book I simply loved. I thought starting out it was women's fiction, and I see some have classified it as that, but I think it falls more into general fiction. The book opens on a flight where Ella has a heart attack. This throws her husband Felix and son Harry into a deep dark hole. Ella who has given up her jewelry designing to care for their son and home while Felix is the earner. Now everything is turned about.

Harry has a number of con
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
On her way home from a visit with her elderly father, Ella Fitzwilliam is feeling stressed and troubled, as her only son Harry is struggling to make choices for his future, and his exacting, perfectionist father Felix is not making things easier. Harry is brilliant, so Felix sees an Ivy League college in his future; however, Harry’s Tourette’s syndrome and other neurological challenges render him uncontrollable at times. Stress makes everything harder for him, too.

Suddenly Ella is racked with gr
Jason Schneeberger
Thanks goes to Life Union Publishing and Netgalley for this review copy.

The synopsis of this book sounded good to me: the mom that the whole family depends on has a sudden heart attack, leaving her husband and son to fend for themselves while she recovers. The husband is an uptight perfectionist while the son has a very high IQ, but also suffers from Tourette's.

I wanted to like this book, but it just dragged. And dragged. And dragged. Ok, we get that Felix and Harry doesn't not get along. We g
Natalia Iwanyckyj
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, beautiful, heart-warming story. I was teary more than once.

Ella, the wife and mother who'd been managing everything and holding it all together for her son and husband has a heart attack. And . . . "Rightly or wrongly, she believed her life was in danger. Which left Felix [the husband/father] facing the real ghoul under the bed—his true self." I enjoyed witnessing Felix's journey of self-discovery and his evolving relationship with his son, Harry.

I LOVED the voices of the young people
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Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she lives in the forests of North Carolina with her beloved of thirty years, the Prof. She is passionate about her family, her garden, and chipping away at the stereotypes and stigma of OCD--a chronic illness her husband and son both battle. They are her real life h ...more

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