About A Son by David Whitehouse is a must-read for three reasons. It is the story of the greatest fear any parent dreads, an account of how society fails its citizens, and a narrative masterpiece.
On Halloween in 2015, a group of costume-dressed young men goes out to enjoy themselves in an English town. Strangers attack them in a park. Morgan Hehir dies from multiple stabs by a steak knife. His father, Colin, keeps a diary to remember everything that happens next to him and his wife, Sue, and two sons. He wants to find out what happens and why. A local newspaper reporter introduces Colin to David Whitehouse, a novelist who takes the diary and transforms it into a book showing how our society is far from civilised.
The narrative unfolds tragic, profound, disturbing, and an incredible series of consequences. I finished reading the book feeling compassion for the Hehir family and respect for David Whitehouse. I was angry Morgan’s death could have been prevented if the police, law, and social services had done their respective jobs and if it had not been for the Tory government’s push for austerity and its consequences on the institutions we rely upon in society. Further, the failure in integrity for some in the police and judiciary is shocking.
Read. Weep. Demand more from society.