The Good Son Review
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Protagonist Chip Mackinnon is the son of Pop Mackinnon, a rough, self-made man who seeks membership in the social elite. Both Chip and his brother go off to fight in World War II, but Chip is the only one to return. Thus, all his father’s aspirations of wealth, privilege, influence, and power fall on Chip. Pop intends for Chip to marry up to take the “sting” out of his own humble beginnings and advance his own ambitions, and he doesn’t like it when things don’t go his way. Chip is pressured into proposing marriage to socialite Carolyn Cooke, the daughter of an ambassador and a woman acceptable to his father’s designs. But when Chip becomes involved with Jean Cooper, a woman of no means from Ohio, a struggle of wills, rivalry, and jealousy erupts between Chip and his father, and Chip learns there’s a price to pay for a privileged upbringing.

I found this book to be somewhat predictable; the story’s been told before. However, the story benefits from being told from different characters’ points of view, although the dialogue is rather stilted at times. The book is a dramatic American tale that reads like an old film.

Originally published in 1982, The Good Son is being re-released. The novel should not be confused with Todd Strasser’s novel of the same name, based on the 1993 screenplay written by Ian McEwan and starring Macaulay Culkin.

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