A Good and Happy Child, Paperback Book

A Good and Happy Child Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


George Davies has a problem: he can't bring himself to hold his newborn son.

Desperate to save his dwindling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, George visits a therapist and begins to delve into the childhood memories that may be the root of his issues.

Ten-year-old George, in the wake of his father's harrowing and unexpected death, is experiencing ominous visions - some friendly, others outright terrifying.

Unable to control those visions, George starts to display erratic behaviour and eventually becomes violent.

When a mysterious murder is ultimately revealed, the stakes are suddenly much higher for him and his family.

Are the visions just the product of a grief-stricken child's overactive imagination?

Symptoms of mental illness? Or is ten-year-old George possessed by a darker, more malevolent force?


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Really nice novel, simply told, deceptively resonant. The kind of book that comes back at you. A bit well-made, it's rightly pegged as a "literary thriller." Avoiding the pyrotechnics of the masters of the genre, it tells a quiet, human, supernatural story that works whether it's all true or all allegory. As a parent, I can say it's certainly the latter. Whether Evans turns into a real writer (it's not his day job), and if so whether he stays in the genre, it's a brilliant first book: a well-told, vividly imagined ghost story.

Review by

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; the ensuing outpouring is a tale of horror from when he was eleven years old. Dealing with the recent and unexpected death of his father and other changes in his household, he becomes haunted by his Friend, an entity that looks just like him- an entity that causes violence to happen to people. The question is: Is the Friend real, and a demon, or is George mentally ill and performing the violence himself from some subconscious need? The authorities believe the latter, but friends of George’s father believe the former, because of beliefs the father held. A tug of war ensues for the right to help George; it becomes psychiatrist versus religion. Who is right? The story is creepy and you just never know if George is mentally ill or if he is truly possessed. Just as you’re convinced he’s mentally ill, an event happens that is definitely supernatural- an event seen by two other people. This introduces a third option- that there is a poltergeist, activated by George’s subconscious turmoil. This book is a horror story that reminds me a lot of some of what was written in the 70s- The Exorcist, The Omen. It has the same ability to make the skin crawl because of the uncertainty as to what is real- and how far the violence and evil may go. I’m surprised that no one has made a movie of this yet.