The Good Father

The Good Father

by Noah Hawley


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307947918
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 319,142
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

NOAH HAWLEY is an author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published three previous novels, conceived and run two network television shows, and written one feature film. Before creating his own shows, he was a writer and producer for the hit show Bones on FOX. He currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Read an Excerpt



Thursday night was pizza night in the Allen household. My last appointment of the day was scheduled for eleven a.m., and at three o'clock I would ride the train home to Westport, thumbing through patient charts and returning phone calls. I liked to watch the city recede, the brick buildings of the Bronx falling away on the side of the tracks. Trees sprang up slowly, sunlight bursting forth in triumph, like cheers at the end of a long, oppressive regime. The canyon became a valley. The valley became a field. Riding the train I felt myself expand, as if I had escaped a fate I thought inevitable. It was odd to me, having grown up in New York City, a child of concrete and asphalt. But over the decades I had found the right angles and constant siren blare to be crushing. So ten years earlier I had moved my family to Westport, Connecticut, where we became a suburban family with suburban family hopes and dreams.

I was a rheumatologist--the chief of rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. It was a specialty that most people didn't recognize, concerned they'd guess with the watery eyes and phlegmy cough of a bad pollen allergy. But in truth, rheumatology is a subspecialty of internal medicine and pediatrics. The term "rheumatology" originates from the Greek word rheuma, meaning "that which flows as a river or stream" and the suffix -ology, meaning "the study of." Rheumatologists mainly deal with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, and allied conditions of connective tissues. We are often the doctor of last resort when patients develop mysterious symptoms involving most of the body's systems: nervous, respiratory, circulatory. The rheumatologist is called to consult when a diagnosis remains elusive.

I was a diagnostician by trade, a medical detective, analyzing symptoms and test results, looking for the most pernicious diseases and intangible traumas. After eighteen years I still found the work fascinating and often took it to bed with me, mulling patient histories in the slippery moments before sleep, looking for patterns in the grain.

June 16 was a sunny day, not too hot but with the threat of New York summer in the air. You could smell the first wisp of humidity rising off the macadam. Soon any breeze would feel like the hot breath of a stranger. Soon you would be able to reach up and smudge car exhaust across the sky like oil paint. But for now there was just the threat, a slight smother, a trickle in the armpits.

I was late getting home that night. Afternoon rounds had taken longer than expected, and I didn't step off the train until close to six. I walked the nine blocks to our house through rows of manicured lawns. American flags hung from mailboxes. White picket fences, at once welcoming and prohibitive, ran beside me like the sprockets of a bicycle wheel, half seen from the corner of my eye. A sense of motion, of one thing being ticked off, then another. It was a town of affluence, and I was one of its citizens, a medical expert, a lecturing professor at Columbia.

I had become an MD in the era before the HMO, before the nickel-and-diming of doctors, and I had done well for myself. The money afforded certain freedoms and luxuries. A four-bedroom house, a few acres of hilly land with a weeping willow and a faded white hammock that swung lazily in the breeze. On these early evenings when the weather was warm I walked through the suburban quiet with a sense of peace, a feeling of accomplishment, not smug or petty but deep-seated and human. It was the triumph of a marathoner after a race, the jubilation of a soldier after a long war is over. A challenge had been faced and overcome, and you were better, wiser for the facing.

Fran was already working the dough when I walked in the door, rolling it out against the marble countertop. The twins were grating cheese and scattering toppings. Fran was my second wife, a tall redhead, with the slow curves of a lazy river. Turning forty had changed the quality of her beauty from the athletic glow of a volleyball player to a languid voluptuousness. Contemplative and sure-footed, Fran was a woman who thought things through, who took a long-term approach to problems. These were not qualities my first wife shared, prone as she was to impulse and the full roller coaster of emotion. But I like to think that one of my better qualities is that I learn from my mistakes. And that, when I asked Fran to marry me, it was because we were--for lack of a more romantic word--compatible in the truest sense of the word.

Fran was a virtual assistant, which meant she worked from home, helping people she'd never met schedule appointments and make flight reservations. Instead of earrings, Fran wore a Bluetooth earpiece, which she put in when she awoke and didn't remove until just before bed. This meant she spent large portions of every day conducting what appeared to be a long conversation with herself.

The twins, Alex and Wally, were ten that year. They were fraternal and not in any way similar. Wally had a harelip and a slight air of menace about him, like a boy who is just waiting for you to turn your back. In truth, he was the sweeter of the two, the more innocent. A miscoded gene had given him a cleft palate, and though surgery had mostly corrected it, there was still a quality to his face that seemed off-kilter, imprecise, vulnerable. His twin, Alex, fair-haired, comparatively angelic looking, had gotten into some trouble recently for fighting. It was a familiar problem for him, starting in the sandbox era as a willingness to battle anyone who made fun of his brother. But over the years, that instinct to protect had evolved into an irresistible need to champion the underdog--fat kids, nerds, kids with braces. A few months back--after being called to the principal's office for the third time that semester--Fran and I took Alex to lunch and explained to him that while we approved of his instinct to protect the meek, he would have to find less physical ways to do so.

"If you want these bullies to learn a lesson," I said, "you have to teach them something. And I guarantee, violence never taught anybody anything."

Alex had always had a quick wit and a sharp tongue. I suggested he sign up for debate classes, where he could learn to beat his opponents with words.

He shrugged, but I could tell he liked the idea. And over the next few months, Alex became the top debater in his class. Now he turned every request to eat his vegetables or help with the chores into an Aristotelian voir dire.

I had no one to blame but myself.

This was our nuclear family. A father, a mother, and two sons. Daniel, the son from my first marriage, had lived with us for a year during his sullen teens, but had departed as impulsively as he'd arrived, waking me one morning before dawn to ask if I could drive him to the airport. His mother and I had split when he was seven, and he had stayed with her on the West Coast when I had come east.

Three years after his brief stay with us, Danny, eighteen, had started college. But he dropped out after less than a year, climbing into his car and heading west. Later, he would say that he just wanted to "see the country." He didn't tell us he'd left. Instead, I sent a card to his dorm, and it came back unopened, with a stamp occupant no longer at this address. This had been his way since childhood. Danny was a boy who never stayed where you left him, who popped up in unexpected places at unexpected times. Now he called infrequently; sent e-mails from Internet cafes in the flat states of the Midwest. The occasional postcard scrawled in a moment of summer nostalgia. But always at his convenience, not mine.

The last time I saw him was in Arizona. I'd flown in for a medical conference. Daniel was passing through on his way north. I bought him breakfast in a hipster coffee shop near my hotel. His hair was long and he ate his pancakes without pause, his fork moving from plate to mouth like a steam shovel.

He told me he'd been doing a lot of camping in the Southwest. During the day he hiked. At night he read by flashlight. He seemed happy. When you're young there is no more romantic conceit than freedom--the boundless certainty that you can go anywhere, do anything. And though it still bothered me that he had dropped out of college six months earlier, knowing him as I did, I can't say I was surprised.

Daniel had grown up traveling. He was a teenage gypsy, shuttled between Connecticut and California, living partly with me and partly with his mother. Children of joint custody are, by nature of the divorce settlement, independent. All those Christmases spent in airports, all those summer vacations shuffling back and forth between mom and dad. Unaccompanied minors, crisscrossing the nation. Daniel seemed to survive it without major trauma, but I still worried, the way any parent does. Not enough to keep me up at night, but enough to add a layer of doubt to each day, a nagging sense of loss, like something important had been misplaced. And yet he had always been self-sufficient, and he was a smart, likable kid, so I convinced myself that wherever he went, he was fine.

Last fall, sitting across from each other in that Arizona coffee shop, Daniel teased me about my coat and tie. It was Saturday, and he said he didn't see the point.

"It's a medical conference," I told him. "I have a professional reputation to uphold."

He laughed at the thought of it. To him all these grown men and women acting and dressing in a manner that society deemed "professional" was ridiculous.

When we parted I tried to give him five hundred dollars, but he wouldn't take it. He said he was doing good, working odd jobs here and there. He said it would feel strange carrying that much money around with him.

"It'd throw off the balance, you know?"

The hug he gave me when we parted was full-bodied and long. His hair smelled unwashed, the sweet musk of the hobo. I asked him if he was sure about the money. He just smiled. I watched him walk away with a deep feeling of impotence. He was my son and I had lost control of him, if I'd ever really had it. I was a bystander now, an observer, watching his life from the sidelines.

When he reached the corner, Daniel turned and waved. I waved back. Then he stepped into the street and I lost him in the crowd. I hadn't seen him since.

Now, in the kitchen of our Connecticut home, Fran came over and kissed me on the mouth. Her hands were covered in flour and she held them up the way I had held mine up a few hours ago walking into the ICU.

"Alex got in another fight," she said.

"It wasn't a fight," Alex corrected her. "A fight is where you hit someone and they hit back. This was more like a mugging."

"Mr. Smart Ass has been suspended for three days," she told me.

"I plan on being furious," I told them. "After I have a drink." I took a beer from the fridge. Fran had returned to the pizza stone.

"We figured pepperoni and mushroom tonight," she said.

"Far be it from me," I told her.

Apropos of nothing Fran said, "Yes, the seven-fifteen flight to Tucson."

Tucson? Then I noticed the blue light.

"Yes, he'll need a car."

I started to speak, but she held up a finger.

"That sounds great. Will you e-mail me the itinerary? Thank you." The blue light went off. The finger came down.

"What can I do?" I said.

"Set the table. And I'll need you to take it out in ten minutes. That oven still scares me."

The TV was on in the corner, playing Jeopardy! It was another ritual in our house, this watching of game shows. Fran thought it was good for the kids to compete with contestants on TV. I had never understood why. But every night around seven our house became a cacophony of barked non sequiturs.

"James Garfield," said Wally.

"Madison," corrected Fran.

"In the form of a question," said Alex.

"Who is James Garfield?" said Wally.

"Madison," said Fran.

"Who is James Madison?"

I had gotten used to the nightly confusion, looked forward to it. Families are defined by their routines. The pickups and drop-offs. The soccer games and debate clubs, doctors' appointments and field trips. Every night you eat and clean. You check to make sure homework is done. You turn off the lights and lock the doors. On Thursdays you drag the Toters to the curb. Friday mornings you bring them in. After a few years, even the arguments are the same, as if you are living out the same day over and over. There is comfort in this, even as it drives you mad. As a virtual assistant, Fran was militant about order. We were her family, but also her ground force. She sent us e-mails and text messages almost hourly, updating calendar events in real time. The dentist appointment has been rescheduled. Glee club has been replaced by ice-skating. Armies are less regimented. Twice a week in the Allen household we synchronized our watches like a special-ops team tasked with blowing up a bridge. The occasional annoyance this raised in me was tempered by love. To have married once and failed is to realize who you are in some deep and unromanticized way. The veneer of personal embarrassment about your weaknesses and idiosyncrasies is lifted, and you are then free to marry the person who best complements the real you, not the idealized version of you that lives in your head.

This is what led me to Fran after eight years of marriage to Ellen Shapiro. Though I had long thought of myself as a spontaneous and open person, I realized after my marriage to Ellen fell apart that I was, in fact, a creature of rigidity and repetition. I cannot stand living with uncertainty and forgetfulness. The bright-eyed, hippie ditziness that seemed charming in Ellen at first glance quickly became infuriating. Similarly, all the qualities that made me a good doctor--my meticulousness, my love of redundancy, the long hours I worked--proved to be qualities that Ellen found oppressive and dull. We took to fighting at every opportunity. It wasn't so much what I did or what she did. It was who we were. And the disappointment we voiced to each other was disappointment in ourselves for making such poor choices. This is the learning process. And though our marriage produced Daniel, it was a union best dissolved before any real damage was done.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A powerful narrative that builds relentlessly to a stunning emotional climax.”—The Chicago Tribune
“A powerfully emotional page-turner.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Suspenseful. . . . Heartbreaking.”—Bookpage

“Irresistible.”—The Wall Street Journal

“With nimble prose and acute psychological insight, Hawley traces Allen's guilt-racked quest to prove his son's innocence. The result is a moving family saga that explores the intriguing notion of a statue of limitations on parental responsibility.” —People
“A memorable, moving and unputdownable masterpiece.” —Sunday Express, London
“Explodes like a hand grenade with a force that drives the breath from your body. . . . Haunting, terrible and yet utterly real, it's superbly written with a marvelous feel for the American landscape and its soul. It's also a tantalizing thriller.” —Daily Mail, London
“Gripping . . . echoes Don DeLillo.” —The Sunday Times, London
“Suspenseful. . . . Heartbreaking.”—Bookpage

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Good Father 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Paul Allen is a Chief Rheumatologist , happily married to a second wife, with whom he has young twin sons. Then one day on TV, while he and his family are making pizza, a knock at the door comes and they learn that his son from his first marriage has assassinated the leading contender for the Democratic Presidential candidacy. Then unfolds, from Allen’s perspective, the agony of the questioning parent, examining his life, his marriages, his motives, his desire to attempt to understand why, coupled with his inability to accept that the shooter was his son, or then, that his son was the ‘cause.’ I found this book astonishingly moving in the portrait of one man’s agony that it provided, as if it were non-fiction. Portrait, or window, is truly the term for it: “I watched him walk away with a deep feeling of impotence. He was my son and I had lost control of him, if I’d ever really had it. I was a bystander now, an observer, watching his life from the sidelines.” “There are things in this world that no human being should be able to endure. We should die of heartbreak, but we do not. Instead, we are forced to survive, to bear witness.”
Koolgooseygramma More than 1 year ago
This book is well written. The Characters are well developed. The Idea behind the book is interesting and original... I also found this book dragged at time, and was very depressing. When I finished this book I grabbed a fun book to read.
ken1952 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
How would you react if your son was accused of assassinating a leading candidate for President? This dark sad novel follows Dr. Paul Allen as he wrestles with the accusations being hurled at his son. Is he guilty? And, if so, why would he have done it? Noah Hawley gave me a lot to think about in this compelling story. But I wouldn't say it was a book I couldn't put down. Sometimes a book can be so harsh and sad that the reader doesn't want to keep turning the pages. And as he reveals more and more of the truth, Hawley re-visits the current assassinations and attempted assassinations in the US. It was very hard for me to relive those violent parts of our past.
baystateRA on LibraryThing 2 days ago
In the first two pages of The Good Father, a novel in the form of a father¿s memoir by Noah Hawley, Dr. Paul Allen summarizes, as if for a medical case study, the activities of his twenty-year-old son Daniel in the months prior to the shooting death that is the catalyst for this book. Over the rest of the book, he attempts to make sense of the shocking crime Daniel is accused of committing.A rheumatologist, Paul thinks of himself as a ¿medical detective¿ ¿ the clinician who is called in to review test results, scans, and every detail of a patient¿s symptoms when a diagnosis remains elusive, and who puts the pieces of the diagnostic puzzle together. So he painstakingly reconstructs the chain of events in Daniel¿s history, tries to uncover symptoms (anger? depression? neurological disorder?) that he missed, busy as he was with his own career and new family. What part of Daniel¿s upbringing or psyche put him on the path to being accused of the assassination of a beloved politician? How much should Paul blame himself, for divorcing Daniel¿s mother and moving to New York when Daniel was only 7, leaving him to fly for so many years ¿ an unaccompanied minor ¿ back and forth between him on the East Coast and his ex-wife Ellen on the West Coast?Paul throws himself fully into his son¿s defense, hiring a high-powered attorney and trying to understand the person that his son has become ¿ a lone gunman, a drifter who calls himself Carter Allen Cash and who is seen as some sort of monster. He pores over investigative reports and witness statements, imagining scenarios and reconstructing the events of his son¿s life that led him to that watershed moment when he was caught on video holding the gun.Though not as explosively as Lionel Shriver¿s We Need to Talk about Kevin (which was from the point of view of a mother whose child committed a heinous crime), The Good Father builds up tension steadily as details are uncovered and facts are revealed; a psychological profile of Daniel as a directionless young adult emerges. Paul¿s obsession with proving his son¿s (and, correspondingly, his own) innocence starts to jeopardize life with his new family ¿ wife Fran and their twin 10-year-old sons, Alex and Wally, who are now the bewildered half-brothers of an accused murderer.Career-driven and sure of himself, Paul is not an entirely sympathetic character at first. He is arrogant and imperious with his son¿s arresting officers, confident that he can fix things for his son. But these hard edges quickly erode, and, except for one scene in a men¿s room that reminded me of The X-Files, The Good Father is a pretty realistic portrayal of a father might react to the implosion of his son¿s life and the derailment of his own.The fourth novel by Noah Hawley, who is also a screenwriter and producer, The Good Father will be released in March 2012.
bookchickdi on LibraryThing 2 days ago
There are two books that published recently, Defending Jacob, by William Landay and The Good Father by Noah Hawley, that deal with fathers struggling with the accusation that their sons committed murder.In Landay's novel, an assistant district attorney's teenage son is accused of killing his classmate. In The Good Father, Dr. Paul Allen's estranged college drop-out son is arrested for killing a senator, a popular family man on his way to winning his party's presidential nomination.Allen divorced his son Danny's mother when Danny was a young boy. He left them and moved across the country to take another job. He remarried and began a new family, now father to twin boys. Danny spent time with his dad and his new family, summer vacations, but he was basically raised by his mother, a woman who was prone to "intense manic interest followed by long stretches of epic boredom", as Danny was.Paul is shocked when he and his wife see on the news that Danny is the one arrested for killing the senator. He cannnot believe that his son did this; there must be a mistake. He hires a lawyer for his son, but his son will not cooperate. Danny is being held in federal custody and no one is allowed to see him.Paul becomes obsessed with proving that his son is part of a conspiracy, a fall guy for the murder. He travels across the country, trying to piece together the last few years of his son's life; where he was, who he met, what he did.This obsession endangers his marriage, and he and his new family are hounded so much, they move to a rural community in Colorado to escape and start over. His wife is patient, but she firmly tells him that if Danny will not cooperate, they must let him go and concentrate on saving their own two sons.Hawley is a good writer, he really makes the reader empathetic to Paul's pain and anguish. He writes a great line, "Father and sons. What we wouldn't give to trade places with our boys, to absorb their suffering and ease their pain."And yet here is my thought on that. Dr. Allen divorced Danny's mother because he couldn't take living with her anymore, that she may have suffered from depression. But he thought it was OK to leave his young son to be raised by her alone, while he starts a new life far away. Would it have been better for his son if he had his father around growing up? If he had made that sacrifice for his son, would things have turned out differently? I think that is something that Paul will have to live with for the rest of his life.The Good Father haunts you with its sadness and despair, with a puzzling mystery thrown in. Did Danny kill the senator or was he a pawn in a conspiracy? It makes you uncomfortable, and gets you to think that you may not know your own child, the things he has gone through, what he is thinking. I do like that we get to see what Danny has gone through the past few years, and how he got to where he sadly ended up.
UnderMyAppleTree on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Dr. Paul Allen¿s idyllic life with his wife and young children is shattered when his son from a previous marriage is accused of assassinating a presidential candidate at a rally in downtown Los Angeles.The evidence against his son, Daniel, is strong. There are witnesses, there is video and his son doesn¿t deny the charges. But as a father he cannot believe his son would do such a thing. There must be some other explanation. Perhaps his son is involved in a conspiracy or is taking the blame for someone else. Whatever it is, he is going to discover the truth. But at what cost?We alternate between the point of view of the father and the son. As we hear from each of them it soon becomes apparent that Paul didn¿t know his son at all. He had no idea how a child felt when his parents were divorced and lived on opposite sides of the country. How it felt to be shipped back and forth between two homes and feeling like no one was there for you.This is an emotional read. After the shooting, Paul is ostracized by society. Even his friends act as if what happened was a result of something he did wrong. We experience Paul¿s growing feelings of guilt, his need to prove his son is innocent in spite of Daniel¿s unwillingness to cooperate and finally his need to be a good father to his son. At the same time he struggles to not let his obsessive behavior ruin his relationship with his wife and children.Interspersed between Paul and Daniel¿s stories are case studies on other famous killers such as John Wilkes Booth, Sirhan Sirhan, Lynette `Squeaky¿ Fromme, Sarah Jane Moore, and Charles Whitman to name a few. Paul spent many hours researching other assassins in an effort to understand what happened with his son. I¿m not sure this added much to our understanding of Daniel, but I did find the cases fascinating and interesting reading.This was an engaging story of a father¿s determination to understand what went wrong. It is an easy read and within the first few chapters I was completely absorbed. It is a book you won¿t want to put down as the suspense builds. Did Daniel act alone, and if he did, why? The ending is both touching and at the same time, satisfactory.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Received this as an ARC from a friend. Found this book to be an intense read about a young man who shoots the politician who was probably going to be the next President of the United States. This books raises a lot of questions about the value of family and the choices on makes in life. Couldn't help personalizing this book and felt such sympathy for all involved. The father who attempts to re-examine his choices and to follow his sons footsteps that led up to the killing. Very good book and very well written.
suetu on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Explaining the unexplainableDr. Paul Allen is a good man. As Noah Hawley¿s novel opens, he is enjoying the family tradition of shouting out Jeopardy questions with his wife and twin sons. The game is interrupted by breaking news. The Democratic candidate¿the presumed next President of the United States¿has just been shot at a public rally. The coverage is chaotic, with reports and footage coming in from a variety of sources. Finally, some images of the shooter come up on the screen. It¿s Daniel, Paul¿s 20-year-old son from his first marriage. So begins a nightmare.I think this premise alone is enough to intrigue most readers. We¿ve experienced these atrocities, seen the breaking news coverage, hoped for the best. Who hasn¿t spared just a moment to think of the people who love the perpetrators of these crimes? Just because your child turns out to be a monster, doesn¿t mean you stop loving them.Within moments, Secret Service agents have shown up at Dr. Allen¿s door. He is taken in for questioning. They need to know everything about Daniel. He is shot, in custody, and branded as a terrorist. Paul is in shock and in denial. Yes, he¿s seen the footage of his son with gun in hand, but he knows that Danny didn¿t do it. As events unfold, Danny refuses to speak or defend himself, so it falls to his father. But Dr. Allen is a diagnostician, and even as he consistently proclaims his son¿s innocence, he mentally searches for the trauma that broke him.This novel is about the people on the periphery of a terrible act. It¿s about the toll a child¿s action takes not only on the parent, but on the entire family. The story is realistic, honest, and utterly compelling. Though flawed, Paul is a hugely sympathetic protagonist, even as he¿s being reviled by the world. And while it is clear as day that this loving father is grasping at straws to save his child, at a certain point you have to wonder if these anomalies he finds don¿t add up to something more ominous. And at that point, a wonderful family drama becomes significantly more suspenseful. These questions will have you turning pages until you finally get the entire story. Mr. Hawley does a superlative tying up all lose ends, whether plot-related or emotional. This is a very contemporary story set in a realistic world most of us know all too well. The shootings of figures like Gabby Gifford, Ronald Reagan, and Robert Kennedy aren¿t merely acknowledged, they¿re dissected. Noah Hawley has tried to explain that which is essentially unexplainable. It¿s extraordinary how well he succeeds. This novel works brilliantly on all levels. The writing is very strong without being unnecessarily showy. Each character, no matter how minor, is imbued with details that bring them to life. The human drama at the heart of this tale is both heart-breaking and healing. This is, in short, a flat-out fantastic novel. Read it!
SamSattler on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Political assassinations are such horrifying events that we search for ways to explain them to ourselves. We hope that the murderer is insane or the member of some extremist group so far on the fringe that he and others like him are exceptionally weird - and rare. The last thing we want to believe is that these killers can spring from average families that include loving brothers and sisters, or that their parents are as surprised by their sons¿ crimes as the rest of us. A normal person should not be capable of such a crime.What few of us ever consider is the effect, both long and short term, this kind of crime has on the killer¿s parents. Dr. Paul Allen, the main character of Noah Hawley¿s The Good Father, is one of those parents. Daniel Allen¿s parents divorced when he was seven years old. After the divorce, Dr. Allen moved from Los Angeles to New York to begin his new medical practice. There he remarried, fathered two young sons Daniel barely knows, and became one of New York¿s most prominent physicians. In the meantime, Daniel was growing up under the care of a woman who could hardly care for herself, much less him. In his teens, Daniel would move to New York to live with his father¿s second family but he would never feel that he belonged there. The country is stunned when the man who seems destined to be the next president of the United States is gunned down at a Los Angeles political event. The Paul Allen family receives an even greater shock when, just minutes later, they see on television that 20-year-old Daniel is believed to be the shooter. Suddenly, the FBI is at Paul¿s front door and television news reporters are right behind the agents. This marks the beginning of Paul Allen¿s quest to prove his son¿s innocence, a journey that will see him put his new marriage at risk, consider the most outlandish conspiracy theories imaginable, spend thousands of dollars, and relocate his family to Colorado in search of a place to live in peace.The Good Family is a book about obsession, rationalization, and false hope. It is a book about blind love and parental guilt, but it touches on broader themes such as how one instant can forever change individual lives and the direction of an entire country. The Good Family is about choices ¿ those made and those not made. All of these are worthy themes for a book to tackle, but the story itself is surprisingly lifeless considering the depth of emotions Paul Allen experiences. Paul is the only fully developed character in the book, causing all the rest, even Daniel, to feel a bit flat in comparison. Too, the numerous case studies of famous real life assassinations, within which Paul tries to find some similarity between those assassins and his son, give the book a disjointed feel. There are also the way too many reminders that Paul is taking a ¿scientific approach¿ to proving his son¿s innocence, the same approach he uses in his practice to diagnose a mysterious illness. After the third or fourth reminder, I grew bored with the repetition and began to question the author¿s faith in his readers¿ memories. This is a case of a plot and message being better than their execution.Rated at: 3.0
MaryinHB on LibraryThing 2 days ago
MY THOUGHTSLOVED ITWhat would you do if you saw your son on the news, blamed for a horrible crime? When Dr. Paul Allen sees his son on the news, accused of shooting the Democratic presidential nominee, he is in shock. Daniel has always been a decent kid and even though he has had some rough years as a child of divorce, he hasn't been a problem. Like most kids at twenty, he is searching for himself and has dropped out of college. Told in alternating voices between Paul and Daniel, this thriller is full of action that doesn't stop. You can tell something is not quite right with Daniel as he rambles through his story, while his father preciseness as clinical diagnostician really comes out to play. I enjoyed this story immensely with all of the twists and turns to the end which was quite exciting. While Paul seems to examine his first marriage and tries to understand what went wrong there and how that affected Daniel, you can see his years of medical training come out where he must search for clues in his patients and their undiagnosed diseases. He applies that same meticulous approach to finding out the truth in Daniel's life. This is a story that happens around us daily but a lot of times, we just don't hear about it in the media.
shazjhb on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Excellent book. I think the only mistake was he mixed up Phoenix with Tucson where the 2011 shooting occurred. Rich in family drama and history.
CMash on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The Good Father by Noah HawleyPublished by DoubledayPublication date: March 20, 2012ISBN: 978-0-385-53553-3At the request of Doubleday, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion. Synopsis (from publisher):An intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.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. My Thoughts and Opinion: Outstanding! This may be the book of 2012!! Could not put it down!!This novel was written in a first person narrative through the eyes of a father about unconditional love, guilt, pain, denial and looking in every corner for that glimmer of hope. Moving!!! The author interweaves into the story real life events, that at times, I felt I was so caught up in the story that it read like a non-fiction. Engrossing!! When or can a parent stop loving unconditionally? The novel had me asking myself how I would feel if this was to happen to my family? Thought provoking! This author writes an emotional yet disturbing story about today's culture and fate of families. The research was phenomenal, bringing in past real life incidents that mirrored the fiction of the story line. When does a parent finally accept the truth? Are parents to be blamed? Are they victims too when the unimaginable is brought upon a family? Emotional!!! Until reading this novel, I never gave any thought to one incident that occurred in real life. But after reading the facts, my thinking changed, and that was quotes from a book written by one of the Columbine shooter's mother. This book will stay with me for a long time, one that will not be forgotten. Well written, character development superb, suspense extreme and a page turner. Brilliant!! As a parent, touched me to my core. Heart wrenching!! A powerful read!! This book, at least my opinion, is off the charts!! Piercing!! My Rating: 5+
dablackwood on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Wow! This is a very good book. The story is compelling and the writing is excellent. I really didn't know where it was going. Daniel is accused of shooting and killing the Democratic presidential nominee. His father, the title character, is determined to prove he didn't do it. But he is consumed with guilt because he and Daniel's mother split when Daniel was very young and lived on opposite coasts. If he did do it, why? I don't want to give the plot away. Except for a few convenient coincidences toward the end, the plot is excellent and the pacing is very good. All in all a great read.
nyiper on LibraryThing 2 days ago
I could hardly put this down because I kept wondering how on earth the family, and most especially the "good father" was going to make it through everything that was happening. It's a book that in some ways reminded me of Defending Jacob, another current book that I finished in the last month or so. Difficult, disturbing, fascinating---when the father is the narrator you are just plain torn by his thought processes---this intelligent thoughtful doctor used to puzzling out problems and yet here was a problem he was totally unprepared for----where did he fit in as a father to this son of his? How would anyone react to such a happening in any reasonable sort of way?
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 2 days ago
In this intense psychological examination of parental angst, Noah Hawley helps us crawl immediately inside the mind and skin of Dr. Paul Allen, a noted diagnostician whose 20 year old son from a former marriage, and with whom he has not been in close contact for many years, is accused of killing a popular US Senator, considered a shoo-in to become the next president.The father immediately goes into denial - NOT MY SON -- and sets out to prove his innocence. But Hawley also gives the reader an eye-opening look into the mind and motivation of the son. The story alternates between the two points of view, portraying how the life-long separation has impacted both of them. The exquisite, aching prose shows us all the emotions each man is confronted with as they work through their ambivalence toward each other. At the same time, we feel the strong inner struggle of the father as he tries to come to grips with the overwhelming evidence that his son did in fact kill another human being, and his disillusionment with his own inability to use his superb diagnostic skills to get to the WHY.As the story marches forward, we are drawn in and cannot put it down. Riding the roller-coaster of emotions leads to an inevitable ending that the reader can see coming, but which we are as reluctant to accept as the main character. It's tightly plotted, with intensely drawn characters. The setting is almost incidental, but there is nothing extra in this one. Every word is accurately and intentionally chosen to present us with a story any parent hopes will only ever be fiction.
bookappeal on LibraryThing 4 days ago
The storyline of this book has potential - how does a father react when his son is accused of assassinating a presidential candidate? The relationship between this father and son is already so estranged, it's hard to believe that the father is certain of his son's innocence. He doesn't know his adult son at all and, in fact, barely saw or knew his son during his formative years. Dad tries to find some other explanation so that he won't have to face the obvious truth - that his son is guilty. The story shifts back and forth between present-day investigation and flashbacks to the mistakes he made as a father. The son is "heard" in chapters describing what he was doing and thinking in the years before the assassination, when he was estranged from his family, and through his diary. Neither character is likable. Particularly annoying was the father's penchant for stating detailed facts about other assassinations - that he might be an assassination buff is inconsistent with his life an over-worked doctor with a new wife and two young sons. The story is neither credible nor surprising.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Aside from the mother's responsibility, the book could contrast, the US system of politics and education with that of other nations, where national service is required for youth. "Lone soldiers" can be helped to feel part of a greater community.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was interesting and engaging until the end, yet the end was so disappointing that it ruined it for me entirely. I would have a hard time recommending this book because of it. Just prior to starting this book, I had read one of this author's other books, Before the Fall, and had loved it. I would recommend reading that book instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very thought provoking. I enjoyed the view points of both father & son interesting . I read it quickly to find out the end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on a whim in the Dollar Store. I could not have gotten a better buy if I bought it at the most expensive bookstore in the world.    At first I thought I'm going to hate this--- WRONG!   It drew me in from the very first page and I could not put it down.  I chronicles  the life of an assassin and what his family, the father in particular went through.  Great writing and I can't wait to read something else by Noah Hawley.  You will feel that way too! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
A Harrowing Tale The Good Father by Noah Hawley is the haunting tale of Dr. Paul Allen, a remarried father of young twins, who is struggling to come to grips with a single horrific act perpetrated by, Daniel, his son from his first marriage. After dropping out of college for a soul-searching life on the road, Daniel assumed a new identity and is arrested for assassinating a popular presidential candidate. Mostly narrated by Dr. Allen, there are parts that switch to Daniel’s point-of-view, giving the reader the full 3-D experience. Reading this book was a bit of a harrowing experience. What propels the book forward is Dr. Allen’s quest to understand his son’s actions. He is desperate to prove his son’s innocence while also trying to come to terms with what he has done. Was it the divorce that changed his sweet boy into a killer? Was it the cross-country flights between parents? Was it because he had remarried and started a new family? Did he pay his son enough attention? These are the questions Dr. Allen asks himself as the rest of the world vilifies his  son. What is difficult about this book is that it personifies the killer. In light of recent events in Aurora, CO; Newtown, CT; and California, this is a difficult pill to swallow and I know that a of of people will likely put off reading The Good Father because of it. But it is a very good book and it should be read because it’s main focus is the father. We oftentimes forget that violence affects the families of the guilty, and this is one of those rare books that delves into that unexplored side of tragedy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago