Book Review: A Father’s Son by Richard Harris

A Father's Son by Richard HarrisYou know I read a lot and that I get more books offered for review than I can possibly read. So, I’ve become very picky. Especially when it comes to self-published books, as they can be of varying quality. It’s hard to tell, sometimes.

Anyway, I’m glad to say: I got it right with this one!

This was a very good read and there is no way you could distinguish it from a traditionally published book. Why it was self-published? I have no idea. It ticks all my boxes for a good book, so if it’s been to several publishers first, they were crazy not to accept this. There!

What the book is about

Description from Amazon: “When his mother is arrested in September 1988, 14-year-old hockey phenomena Justin Maloney is left with no choice but to move in with his estranged father. Rick Maloney wants to be a caring, responsible parent to his only child, but he soon loses his way and begins a steady descent into darkness that will force him to confront old demons.

Set against the backdrop of the New World Order—the demise of the Soviet Union, the pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall—A Father’s Son is a stirring tale of how parent and child can grow far apart, yet remain close through a shared love of Canada’s national passion.

Infused with the pop culture that would define a generation, A Father’s Son also touches on the universal themes of first loves, betrayal and the struggle for identity. A rich tapestry of voices, A Father’s Son is a deeply affecting story about how the anti-heroes in our lives can sometimes be our strongest forces for growth.”

What I thought

This is a very good coming of age story about a boy who is more or less alone in the world. He’s got a mother – in prison, and a father – who tries hard, but fails to care properly for his son. His best friend’s mother is like a second mother for him, and when things get tough, he spends time at their house.

He’s a good ice hockey player, and this is where his father supports him at his best. He drives him to matches and cheers from the sides. When Justin gets a girlfriend, his father is at his most charming.

While I read about the poor conditions that Justin lives in, it didn’t really hit home until I read the reactions of the people around him: they were happy to help in any way, more than they would an average boy with a standard family. I thought this was written so well. Especially the friend’s mother and a police officer never judge, but are always there for him.

The love story builds up really well – Abi is his first girlfriend and he keeps wondering whether she’ll dump him any time soon. But she admires the junior hockey star, so how could she? When his father’s situation deteriorates, Justin has to make some important choices.

I loved how Justin, at 14, was portrayed as an insecure boy who is brave enough to do the things he needs to do to keep going. Public speaking, getting a very early morning job, phoning his girlfriend when he thought they might be breaking up, getting in touch with his mother. An understated hero.

The New World Order and pop culture from the description don’t ring a bell. Is it the same book? 🙂 It did not make a great impact on the story.

Definitely recommended!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 366

First published: 2013

I got this: from the author in return for an honest review

Genre: contemporary fiction

About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

11 Responses to Book Review: A Father’s Son by Richard Harris

  1. Nish says:

    I am very picky about self-published books too. I am just wary of reading something that I don’t enjoy, and worse having to blog about it.

    Good this one worked for you 🙂

  2. sounds like a great read. so glad you finally received a self published book you loved!! I will have to check it out.

  3. Isi says:

    Sounds great, and I haven’t read so many “coming of age” novels in which the main character is a boy. I’m glad you finally agreed to read the book so that now we know it!
    I have read a few self-published novels that I liked very much, but I know that this doesn’t always happen.

  4. Laurie C says:

    Good choice! I guess self-published doesn’t always mean “not good enough to get published” anymore!

  5. Pingback: A Father’s Insecurity | Guinn Tribe

  6. Pingback: More Free Copies of A Father’s Son Available | Richard H. Harris

  7. Amy says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of this book and I’m thrilled I read your review. This book sounds great. I love that Justin is a hockey player and a big fan of the sport (me too!). It’s sad that he’s only 14 and his life is unmoored with mom in jail and dad used to living his own life. I’m glad Justin has Abi and I’m intrigued about how this compelling story ends. I’m certainly going to list it on my tbr!

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