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A Good American by Alex George

A Good American

by Alex George

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4335424,328 (3.82)1 / 36
  1. 00
    Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman (arielfl)
    arielfl: Both novels are sweeping multi generational stories of immigrants who experience equal doses of tragedy and success.

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story of german immigrants who came to America and accidentally ended up in a small town in Missouri where they raised children, started a restaurant business. Music is a theme throughout the story. Fred, the father, enlists in the army in WW1 and is killed. His widow,Jette, raises the kids and keeps the restaurant open. It goes for 3 generations. Some humor, some tragedy, some love and lots of music. ( )
  gwenreichert | Jul 25, 2017 |

Finished 6/13 but will wait till our book club discussion next week before I rate and review it.

6/21 Mixed reviews at book club. 2 loved it, a few thought it was ok, and the majority didn't like it. Personally I thought it was just ok. It was slow at times, the writing was average, and although there was a lot of death I felt unaffected because I never really got to know the characters in depth. Then 2/3 of the way into the book the story took a fantastical turn with the suicidal dwarf, the nympho schoolteacher, the giant, the unfortunate death of a child (as he was engaged in the favorite solitary pastime of most teenage boys), the pastor, and other colorful but totally unrealistic characters. Some of us found it funny but we're not entirely sure that was the author's intention. I didn't dislike it but didn't love it either. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
What a fabulous book! This would be a 5 star read if it hadn't been for a few parts in the middle that I didn't enjoy as much. Overall, I loved it and highly recommend it. It's simply a great story of generations of a family that migrated from Germany to America. There is romance, triumphs and tragedy - and all very well written. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
This book surprised me. It's wonderful as an audio book. Not sure if I would have enjoyed it as a printed book. It reads like a memoir even though it is fiction. Told by James, the story starts with his grandparents who come to America from Germany and end up in Beatrice, MO. I loved how the story covers three generations of a family and how things change in history and in the family. I don't care that there is almost no dialogue. I found this mesmerizing and so entertaining as I was driving to/from work. I'm so glad I listened to this book. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
The story of an immigrant family as they travel from Germany to America. Their adjustment to American life and the children they raise. It is a multigenerational story of the American dream and everyday life that comes in their way. I like this book because the author tells the story through James the third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. ( )
  JCGirl | May 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Despite some dark moments, the book's overall tone is warm and nostalgic as the couple's grandson tells his family's story. George's narrator is bland when compared with his more colorful relatives, and this causes the novel to lose steam once the focus is on his own experiences rather than those of his parents and grandparents. Nonetheless, this memorable and well-written exploration of one family's search for acceptance in America should strongly appeal to readers who enjoy family sagas and historical fiction.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Mara Bandy (Dec 1, 2011)
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Always, there was music.
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Book description
It is 1904. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to NT, at the last minute they take one destined for New Orleans ("What's the difference? They're both new"), and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together. Beatrice is filled with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf. A Good American is narrated by Frederick and Jette's grandson, James, who in telling his ancestor's story comes to realize he doesn't know his own at all. From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies, the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, Jame's family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American. And in the process Frederick and Jette's progeny sometimes discover more about themselves than they had bargained for. (978-0-399-15759-2)
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The Meisenheimer family struggles to find their place among the colorful residents of their new American hometown, including a giant teenage boy, a pretty schoolteacher whose lessons consist of more than music, and a spiteful, bicycle-riding dwarf.

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