2007: 167. The Good Son

“My father is a coarse, charming man, a lawyer, and a good one, and when I was flying over the desert and the German pursuit pilot began pouring round after round into my plane (a P-40), I was thinking of how I learned to drive, and how it affected my father.”

The Good Son, Craig Nova

This is the first book I have ever read that was written by someone I have actually met.  Craig Nova is my friend Abbey’s father (her blog is linked on our homepage).  Made me a little nervous about blogging (what if I didn’t like it?).  Luckily, I did.

The book is about fathers and sons, and particularly about the psychological warfare between Chip Mackinnon, child of privilege, and his father Pop, a self-made millionaire.  Their battle culminates when Chip falls in love with Jean Cooper, a girl with the wrong background who fascinates both Mackinnon men.  What I loved about this book was its sense of place - the farm where the bulk of the story takes place is character in its own right, and Nova makes it seem as real as the people living there.  I also loved the relationship between Chip and Pop, and the wars they fought - they were are thrilling as battle scenes, and watching them go at it was page turning.   

The only part of the book that I had trouble with, was the chapter on Jean’s background, and what happened to her when she tried to leave her small town for something better.  It seemed unrealistic to me that the people would want her to stay so badly, and was a strangely false note* in what was otherwise an insightful view into how people (especially families) treat each other.  Nova is not that well known to the general public, but books like this make me think he should be, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading more of his things (and not just because his daughter is one of my favorite people who walks the earth).


Recommended for: People who like to read about fathers and sons, and class in America, and pitched psychological battles.


*I am willing to accept that people would hate that she wanted something better, but not that they would actively try to stop her from going.  Maybe people were once like that, but I doubt it.


Date/Place Completed: 10/25/07; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction; Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017