A Good and Happy Child: A Novel

Front Cover
Three Rivers Press, 2007 - Fiction - 322 pages
16 Reviews

A young man reexamines his childhood memories of strange visions and erratic behavior to answer disturbing questions that continue to haunt him and his new family in this psychological thriller named a Washington Post best book of 2007.

Thirty-year-old George Davies can't bring himself to hold his newborn son. After months of accepting his lame excuses and strange behavior, his wife has had enough. She demands that he see a therapist, and George, desperate to save his unraveling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, reluctantly agrees.

As he delves into his childhood memories, he begins to recall things he hasn't thought of in twenty years. Events, people, and strange situations come rushing back. The odd, rambling letters his father sent home before he died. The jovial mother who started dating too soon after his father's death. A boy who appeared one night when George was lonely, then told him secrets he didn't want to know. How no one believed this new friend was real and that he was responsible for the bad things that were happening.

Terrified by all that he has forgotten, George struggles to remember what really happened in the months following his father's death. Were his ominous visions and erratic behavior the product of a grief-stricken child's overactive imagination? Or were his father's colleagues, who blamed a darker, more malevolent force, right to look to the supernatural as a means to end George's suffering? Twenty years later, George still does not know. But when a mysterious murder is revealed, remembering the past becomes the only way George can protect himself--and his young family.

A psychological thriller in the tradition of Donna Tartt's The Secret History--with shades of The Exorcist--A Good and Happy Child leaves you questioning the things you remember and frightened of the things you've forgotten.

"Beautifully written and perfectly structured. . . . This novel is much more than The Omen for the latte generation, and Evans cleverly subverts expectations at every turn." -Washington Post

"[A] satisfying, suspenseful first novel. . . . Young George's intriguing story unbalances the reader right up to the book's deliciously chilling end."
--People

"A scary, grown-up ghost story that combines Southern gothic with more than a twist of The Exorcist. . . . Combine[s] mind-bending storytelling with excellent prose."
--Portland Tribune

"Think Rosemary's Baby--plus . . . told in the kind of prose that mesmerizes, sweeping the reader along so fast that there's no time to ask questions."
--Hartford Courant

"[A] dazzling debut . . . part psychological thriller, part horror story."
--Chicago Tribune

"Relat[es] his otherworldly suspense story with the cool, calm eye of a skeptic."
--Entertainment Weekly (A--)

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dark_phoenix54 - LibraryThing

George’s marriage is ending because he cannot bring himself to touch his newborn son- even though he loves the child. His therapist suggests that he writes in a journal to try and uncover the reason ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - d2ward - LibraryThing

What a weird book, but in this case, that's a good thing. There are elements of The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, Poltergeist, & lots of Freud. Is the protagonist possessed, insane, or reacting as ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
7
Section 3
21
Section 4
31
Section 5
43
Section 6
51
Section 7
61
Section 8
73
Section 16
182
Section 17
201
Section 18
215
Section 19
225
Section 20
235
Section 21
256
Section 22
271
Section 23
278

Section 9
80
Section 10
94
Section 11
117
Section 12
123
Section 13
138
Section 14
154
Section 15
174
Section 24
288
Section 25
296
Section 26
313
Section 27
321
Section 28
325
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

JUSTIN EVANS is a strategy and business development executive in New York City, where he lives with his wife and their two children. This is his first novel.

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