REVIEW: The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
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 necessarily wired to cope with his son’s imperfections, to take charge of their seventeen-year-old’s future. What happens in the process is a fun-loving portrait of a family’s many faces of love.
THE PERFECT SON is Harry’s coming-of-age story at a time when his family is in crisis. Harry falls in love, he makes mistakes while trying to please his father and heal his mother, all while sharing the pure joy of living. I laughed so much while reading this book that I started bookmarking something in every chapter, sometimes every few pages. Harry dealing with his father is a treasure and their interactions are hilarious because they’re so relatable. Ella falls in love with her husband all over again, as fast as Felix realizes what a gift his wife has been to him and Harry.
There are secondary characters who also make this book very special. There’s the female neighbor who is a retired horticulturist and becomes a great spoke in the wheel of change in Harry and Felix’s relationship. Then there’s Katherine, Ella’s best friend, who puts her career on hold while helping this family. Harry’s friends are a very fun addition to the story and their youthful shenanigans are everything Harry needs to cope with his anxieties. Harry’s best friend Max is such an entertaining and creative teenager that I hope we read more about him in the future.
Barbara Claypole White’s brilliant characterization speaks to my heart. Her ability to create flawed characters and make them so humanly real, giving them imperfections that make them hard to love, then resurrecting them with acceptance and the willingness to change, creates a novel deep-set with compassion. Ms. White makes me laugh, she makes me rush to the next page while losing sleep, and she pulls me into her characters’ lives with heartfelt emotion when their journey becomes overwhelming. THE PERFECT SON is a family’s life in perpetual motion, sometimes spiraling out of control, until they become who they are meant to be. A storyteller with this style of talent, the kind that makes you feel as if you’re in the story rather than just reading about it, is a rare and treasured experience which has cemented Ms. White on my favorite authors list.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest, acquired for free from the Kindle First program for Prime members.
Get your copy at Amazon.
The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
Category: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2015)
Rated 5 out of 5, Recommended Read!
Do you enjoy imperfections in the characters you read about?
August 10, 2015 at 9:37 pm
How wonderful to read this as I’m heading to bed. I shall sleep very well tonight. Bless you!
And thank you for reading my latest book baby.
August 11, 2015 at 11:32 am
Awesome! It was my pleasure, Barbara. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into this book.
August 11, 2015 at 5:31 am
Dorine, I just read your review of The Perfect Son. Your descriptions of how you felt reading The Perfect Son are the same emotions I felt reading Barbara’s book, only you describe it them like I never could….its just a beautiful review. Barbara is a brilliant writer of emotions, true life emotions filled with fear, laughter, compassion and hope, which is the way live should be.
August 11, 2015 at 11:35 am
Thanks you so very much, Carol, for the compliment. Apologies for the delay in your responses appearing on the blog, you both should be off the spam-guard now. I wholeheartedly agree with you Carol, Barbara’s talent is very special. Thanks for visiting and feel free to check out other reviews on my site. 🙂
August 11, 2015 at 5:34 am
Barbara, what a review Dorine wrote, She expressed exactly what emotions I felt reading The Perfect Son, only she said it way better than I ever could! Great review!