REVIEW: The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
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?