Normally, when reviewing novels, I do a basic review rather than the more in-depth review format I use for non-fiction works. That’s not because I view them as any less important, but rather because doing so helps me avoid giving away too many plot details. However, for A Father’s Voice, I need to do an in-depth review.
That’s because A Father’s Voice is a complex book. Ostensibly about what rights men should have in the abortion debate, it’s really about much more than that. Child abuse, mental health, the frenzied American political atmosphere, and even the state of the media are all integral to the book. What could have just been a book about the complex topic of abortion is really about so much more.
Summary of A Father’s Voice
Imagine that you have what seems like the perfect life. A rewarding, high-paying job. A gorgeous house in a beautiful area. Good friends and an amazing wife. In short, everything an American could ask for.
Then imagine that it all starts to break down. Your wife starts going crazy, acting almost schizophrenic. She wants to get an abortion after previously acting like she wanted a family, something you desperately want. What would you do?
That’s the situation facing Michael Bishope in the first third of A Father’s Voice. He had a perfect life. Then everything started to break down. He responded by suing, demanding that a father’s rights be respected in an abortion decision. A judge, surprisingly, allows the case to proceed. Michael’s lawyer makes novel arguments that keep the case alive as the nation plunges into the throes of fighting once again over abortion. Meanwhile, his wife travels farther and farther down a dark path, a path finally brought into the open by a bizarre outburst in court.
Michael’s life is upended and he has to deal with the consequences of it all. A vindictive boss. Hatred and scorn from the media. The courtroom turning into a circus. And, worst of all, the mental breakdown of his wife as her hellish childhood experiences resurface.
I’ll avoid any more of a summary so as to avoid spoiling the story. It’s such a powerful one that it would be a shame to ruin it. Just know that it exposes the dark underbelly of America for what it is; a vicious, horrid, evil segment of society that preys on children.
My Take on A Father’s Voice
Few books, especially novels, affect me in a discernable way. I enjoy learning and sometimes what I read changes my mindset, as happened when I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time. But never have I read a book all the way through in one sitting because I found it impossible to put down. Until I read A Father’s Voice, never before had I been unable to fall asleep because of the horror of what I read.
Now, I don’t think Parent’s goal was to terrify the reader. A Father’s Voice is a book about the abortion debate. It’s meant to present the issues facing how society currently handles abortion in a realistic way and open up the floor for discussion on that topic. And, frankly, he does that masterfully. The arguments that Michael’s lawyer and pro-life advocates have with pro-choice advocates are incredibly well done. They get to the root of the problem and paint the arguments made by both sides in a fair light.
Parent’s viewpoint, as found in the book, is that fathers should have a say if their wife or girlfriend is getting an abortion. The child killed in the process is just as much theirs as the woman’s, so they should have a right to help decide. That might not be a popular viewpoint but it is, I think, the right one. Parent argues it well through various characters, namely Michael and his lawyer, and I think the conversation America is forced to have in the book is a conversation that it needs to have in real life. Men deserve a voice too.
Parent also exposes the corrupt media outlets for what they are: entertainment. They turn everything into a circus, frequently ruin the lives of those they write about, and focus more on clickbait and nonsense rather than factual reporting. Many of the media-related characters in the book show that quite effectively. That media coverage, in turn, leads to our toxic political environment. Every rage-inducing crime or story is brought to the center of our lives and not forgotten until an equally heinous one crops up next. Thanks to the media, we’re always bickering and rarely having substantive discussions.
But what really affected me in A Father’s Voice wasn’t the debate on men’s rights in abortion or Parent’s masterful indictment of the media. Instead, it was his depiction of child abuse. Susan, Michael’s wife, had a horrible childhood. Her father, a drunk, evil man first beat her mother to death and later sexually, mentally, and physically abused her, even when she was a tiny girl. Parent exposes the sadness, suffering, and trauma wrought by all that in an amazing what that presents child abusers for what they are: rabid, demonic scum that need to be put down. From now on, I will be firmly calling for the immediate execution, or lifetime imprisonment and extrajudicial justice that entails, of any scumbag who abuses a child.
I lay awake in bed, deeply troubled by what I had read when I finished A Father’s Voice. That’s not because it was a bad book, and certainly not because I found Parent’s views repugnant. Far from it, in fact. It’s an incredibly well-done book with viewpoints I uniformly agree with.
What kept me awake is the sickening fact that the child abuse Parent describes is a fact of life for many American children. Millions of boys and girls around the nation live in fear of parents that beat them, psychologically abuse them, or, worst of all, sexually abuse them.
The bond between a parent and child is supposed to be sacred. Any piece of trash that would break that bond deserves to be put down like the dog they are. I don’t care if that end is arrived at by lethal injection or other prisoners inserting their brand of justice, which often involves visiting the same horrors on an abusive parent that that parent inflicted on his/her children, but justice must be served. Child abuse, especially of the sexual kind, is the most evil and vicious of crimes. It is our duty as a society to save the children and punish each and every child abuser out there.
As you can probably tell by reading this, I was deeply moved by A Father’s Voice. It’s a good book and the abortion arguments in it are important to read. But, whether on purpose or by accident, I found the central theme of it to be one of the horrors of child abuse and the immense human suffering that results, not abortion.
A Father’s Voice is dark, depressing, and, at times, horrifying. But it’s also beautiful. If you have the stomach for reading about pure evil, I suggest you read it. If not, stay away and have someone with more internal fortitude read and describe it to you.
If you want to read a powerful book that will deeply affect you, read A Father’s Voice. I’m a cynical person that rarely gets emotional. Almost never, in fact. But I was moved to tears by A Father’s Voice.
By: Gen Z Conservative