As an adult, George Davies can't bring himself to hold or be around his child. His fed-up wife sends him to a therapist, and together they delve into his disturbed childhood. George believed he was possessed by a demon, and this served as the link to his late father. But was this really the issue? Were the hallucinations and visions real?
Wow, what a weird/disturbing/thought-provoking book. To be honest, I had no previous knowledge of what this book was actually about. Sure, I knew it involved a man who was severely affected by his experiences as a child. Sure, I knew his father died mysteriously. But demons? Exorcisms? I didn't see that coming. All of it was surprisingly interesting, and it even scared me a bit.
This is a psychological thriller at its finest. The book isn't action packed by any means, and I wouldn't consider it a classic, fast-paced thriller. A Good and Happy Child is more of a subtle thriller - one that slowly creeps up on you. One thing that I really, really liked was how you couldn't fully trust the point of view of the narrator. George was truly a messed up child, and was having serious hallucinations that (might) have caused him to injure many people in many ways. As the reader, how could I be sure that he was mentally ill? Or was it the demon? I loved being unsure. The episodes that George was having of his "friend", and when his "friend" was telling him to do things, were so frightening. I'm telling you now - reading this book at midnight was not a comforting experience!
As for the writing, I wasn't overly impressed. I mean, Evans' style was a tad dry, but it fit perfectly with the book. There were the occasional moments when I savoured his descriptions and really got what he was saying, but they weren't happening all the time. It didn't matter, though, because I was so caught-up in the story that I barely noticed how his writing affected me. He did manage to invent some pretty interesting characters, especially in George. I loved his character, despite its strangeness. I kept forgetting how he was only eleven years old, because his intelligence and maturity was beyond his years. His thoughts and experiences were so haunting.
Don't worry - you don't have to be religious or believe in demons to take this book seriously. I can't tell you what happens, but there are so many events that got my heart beating faster. Nothing is settled in this book, nothing is finalized. It's all open to interpretation, and the ending is totally up to you.