The Perfect Son

The Perfect Son

by Barbara Claypole White


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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 family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s syndrome, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.

As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477830048
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 07/01/2015
Pages: 396
Sales rank: 509,444
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

English born and educated, Barbara Claypole White lives in the North Carolina forest with her family. Inspired by her poet/musician son’s courageous battles against obsessive-compulsive disorder, Barbara writes hopeful stories about troubled families with a healthy dose of mental illness. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Garden, won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book, and The In-Between Hour was chosen by SIBA (the Southern Independent Booksellers) as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick.

For more information, or to connect with Barbara, please visit

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The Perfect Son 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
KLRomo More than 1 year ago
Ella Fitzwilliam is a mom devoted to her unique son, Harry. After many false medical opinions, Harry was finally diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. "Their lives had been soldered together by the rainbow of special needs." Even with medication and therapy, Harry struggles to control the tics that overtake his body. Most of the time, he hardly notices them. But sometimes the stress is just too great, and he can’t control his movements. "…the complex tics that manifested as demonic possession? Those built up inside like tremors warning of a volcanic explosion." Ella has mothered him through seventeen years of Tourette’s, though barely surviving his two years of rage attacks. Although mother and son are close to inseparable, Harry’s father, Felix, prefers to parent from a safe distance. An investment banker wearing a perpetual frown, Felix is as compulsive about work as he is everything else. He can’t tolerate his neat, color-coded to-do lists not being followed to the letter, shoes not put where they belong, or a glass set on the coffee table without a coaster. A control freak. Ironically, the polar opposite of his son. Each parent has mastered his and her role in their family drama, at least to all appearances. But an unexpected calamity forces a painful change in casting. Felix must finally learn to be a hands-on father – something he’d never thought he had the ability to be. Now Harry needs him in a way he never had before, and Felix comes to realize he needs a bond with his son just as much. White’s depiction of raising a child with a neurological disorder tugs at my own fears and insecurities of motherhood. Ella’s daily struggle to protect Harry, and help him adjust to the outside world is almost a living thing I can reach out and touch. Felix’s insecurity at being an involved parent is just as touching; his struggle to be the father Harry needs is full of anxiety and fear, but also replete with love and hope. Felix is the perfect antihero – at first, not a likable sort, but I soon grew to admire his perseverance and strength. White’s plot takes us through Felix’s metamorphosis not only as parent, but as husband, friend, and employee. To survive the situation in which his family finds themselves, Felix must reevaluate his priorities, admit his shortcomings, and decide what parts of his perfectly choreographed role must change to overcome his fear, and care for his wife and son. White has masterfully bared the souls of her characters to us, allowing us to live through both their physical and emotional challenges with them. Thank you, Barbara, for bringing this family to life, and reminding us there is no such thing as being perfect.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary novel. It is a practical guide to raising a child with no possibility of ever being described as 'average', no matter what label is pinned to them to make others more comfortable. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will come away with a greater respect for both parents and children who require more 'work' than others.