Wednesday, January 29, 2014

book review: The Good House by Ann Leary

The basics: Hildy Good is a real estate agent near Salem, Massachusetts. She went to rehab at the behest of her two grown daughters, but she's not an alcoholic.

My thoughts: The Good House is one of those books many were quietly raving about most of 2013, but yet it never seemed to really get much attention. I'm pretty sure I checked it out of the library in January when it came out and finally read it in the final days of 2013 (I know, I am a library book hoarder.) I was instantly entranced with this novel. Hildy is a dynamic narrator. I'm tempted to call her an unreliable narrator, but I'm not convinced that's completely accurate. Hildy's unreliability comes in two forms: first, she is not always forthcoming with the reader. She doesn't necessarily lie, but she carefully chooses how to share and when. In reality, this behavior is what we all do. We don't lead with the faults others find with us that we don't quite believe, yet when Hildy first acknowledge such a trait, my first thought was suspicion.

The second trait of unreliability has as much to do with Hildy's honesty with herself as it does with her honesty with the reader. While linked with the first, it becomes indicative of so much more. In a pinch, I would probably call Hildy unreliable, but it's this very trait, and Leary's unconventional use of it, that makes Hildy so fascinating to read about. As much as I enjoyed seeing other characters, Hildy stole this book for me.

The verdict: The Good House captivated me as I read. Hildy was a fascinating character, and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, or at least as much as she would show. As much as this novel is Hildy's story, Leary smartly builds up the town and its motley crew of characters to be just as dynamic.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 320 pages
Publication date: January 15, 2013
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Good House from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Ann Leary's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

8 comments:

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    1. Wonderful! I'm eager to read her first novel now too.

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  2. I loved this book... the audio version is phenomenal! It really didn't get enough attention.

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    1. JoAnn--I've heard wonderful things about the audio too. Glad you liked it too!

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  3. I gave this a go on audio and could not listen to it. Hildy's voice was painful to listen to. But I have heard other bloggers sing its praises in both book and audio form so perhaps I was just not in the mood to listen at the time.

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    1. Ti--I'm an incredibly moody reader and have many times abandoned a book I later ended up loving. I have to be in the right mood for the right book.

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  4. Did you really keep the book from the library that long? What's that fine going to look like:-)

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    1. Perks of faculty borrowing privileges--unlimited renewals and no fines accrue, as long as no one else requests the book:-)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!