The Perfect Son
Dealing with a child with disabilities always changes a family dynamic. Parents raising a child with what must, at times, seem like insurmountable obstacles are faced with multiple challenges and obstacles of their own.
Barbara Claypole White has written a touching, sensitive novel about a husband and wife who have a bright, handsome son with Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, and anxiety. Ella decided early on that she would give up her career as a talented jewelry designer to stay home with Harry, making all the decisions concerned with his care. Felix would devote himself to earning the money required to finance all of the medical, educational, and psychiatric contingencies involved in Harry's well-being.
But what happens when Ella can no longer manage after a genetic condition produces a damaging heart attack? How will Felix, who has removed himself from Harry's care for nearly seventeen years, be able to connect and provide for Harry's needs?
Harry is a lovable high school junior who has accepted himself and his condition and has friends at his tiny, expensive private school. His best friend Max is the kind of friend everyone should have; his supportive role throughout is impressive. A typical adolescent, Harry is interested in girls and has a crush on a beautiful classmate, but with his Tourette's, ADHD, and anxiety issues will she even give him the time of day?
With Ella in the hospital, Felix must adjust his schedule and his priorities, and this does not come easily for him. He loves Harry, but finds Harry's behaviors annoying and frustrating. Ella has always dealt with "Harry issues"; Felix has maintained his distance. He dreamed of a perfect son, and Harry doesn't fit the bill, but neither did he or his brother meet his own father's expectations.
A wonderful mix of characters who are detailed, flawed, and deeply human. The Perfect Son is one of my favorite books this year and was a completely unexpected and totally satisfying experience.
NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing
Literary Fiction. July 1, 2015. Print length: 396 pages.