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The Good House: A Novel by Ann Leary
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The Good House: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Ann Leary

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3833128,549 (3.85)16
Member:thebooky
Title:The Good House: A Novel
Authors:Ann Leary
Info:St. Martin's Press (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, ebook

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The Good House by Ann Leary

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
With a small-town, New England, setting and an author with the ability to write settings like Ms. Leary, I felt as though I was right there with the protagonist, Hildy. Hildy refused to believe she is an alcoholic and, after a stint in rehab, continues to drink wine then slowly progresses to other alcohol again. This novel grabbed me at the start. I was routing for her to be sober and to overcome the obstacles in her life. She was an interesting woman, a successful realtor, a mother and grandmother, and the ex-wife of a gay man.

Ms. Leary comes up with very strong characters who are well-developed and make you feel as though you know them. I like Ms. Leary's writing style and enjoyed this novel. I hope to read more books by her. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | May 9, 2014 |
With more than ten started but yet to finish books on my nightstand, it felt great to pick this up and read it in one day. I was put off somewhat by the description on the back but was sucked into this novel after just the first page. Hildy Good is a very flawed person, (like anyone alive tends to be), and that is what makes her so compelling. You want to believe her even when she is lying to herself. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Apr 19, 2014 |
The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, a real-estate agent in a small town in Massachusetts, who has taken "just a little" too much of a liking to the no-longer-occasional glass of alcohol. Hildy thinks she has things under control -- but as she gets involved with the life of a new neighbour, she gets ample opportunity to examine her own.

I loved this book. It manages to be both thoughtful and uplifting at the same time -- you despair of Hildy as she passes out in her basement but you still never cease to root for her. After all, many of the little lies she tells herself (and, by extension, the reader) are not so unlike the ones you may have told yourself at some point or another.

My audiobook included an interview with the author in which she explained that Hildy was never meant to be the main character of the book but just ended up stealing the show, and I have no trouble believing that. Speaking of which, I strongly recommend the audiobook version of this novel -- the narrator, Mary Beth Hurt, really makes Hildy come to life.
  littlegreycloud | Apr 5, 2014 |
“A layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.”—J. Courtney Sullivan ( )
  amanaceerdh | Mar 5, 2014 |
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 ( )
  nomadreader | Jan 29, 2014 |
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I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist could after a year of sessions.
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"The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place--"if they invite you over for dinner, and it's not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life"--and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem. As if battling her demons wasn't enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There's a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire--and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good"--… (more)

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