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A Good American by Alex George

A Good American (edition 2012)

by Alex George

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3885227,669 (3.84)1 / 36
Title:A Good American
Authors:Alex George
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Historical Fiction, humor

Work details

A Good American by Alex George

  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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English (52)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
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 |
This novel is a multi-generational story that begins with a pair of German immigrants who leave Germany under some unusual circumstances. The reader follows the family until modern times, starting before 1900. The writing is realistic; things happen to this family that happen to all families. There is happiness, sadness, and humor, place in the book where the sadness is very real, and places where I wanted to laugh out loud. I enjoy books like this, so I found this a good read. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Apr 16, 2016 |
This was one of the books for my book club, and I'm really glad I read it. Story of how young couple moved to the US from Germany in the early 1900s and the family they raised here. Loved the Character development. I especially loved that it was not predictable. ( )
  Darwa | Mar 18, 2016 |
Started slowly but built to a nice pace in the latter half. An interesting inspection of what it was like to be newly-arrived in the land of opportunity. ( )
  VashonJim | Sep 5, 2015 |
This book has one of the best first lines EVER. I was struck so much by it, that upon reading it, I had to stop, just to take a quick snapshot.

"Always, there was music."


A Good American is the story of a German immigrant, his family, and their story. The story spans through 4 generations, and covers nearly a century. Although told as one continuous story, the book is definitely separated into parts, and I found I liked the bookends (the first and last parts of the book) better than its middle. While the story kept my interest, I felt that the writing was better in the beginning. As the novel went on, especially as it moved into the experiences of 4 teenage boys, it got a little too hormonal for my liking, but then in the end, things wrapped up neatly with some pretty surprising twists. I did like the music motif that ran throughout the book, and I liked how everything was connected in its own way. It was almost an epic, considering how the author wove parts of American history right into the novel and showed how even a family of German descent in small town American still has its brushes with important historical moments. 3.5 of 5 stars. ( )
  lauraodom | Feb 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (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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