Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Book Review: The Good House by Ann Leary
Hildy Good is a sixty year old, divorced alcoholic who is a successful realtor and a twistedly honest narrator. She is the descendant of Sarah Good, a woman hung as a witch in the Salem witch trials. She carries this and much other baggage with her as she tells this sharp, funny and stiking story. Ann Leary lets you get inside Good's head as she struggles with her addiction, succeeds at her business, and tries to find a place in her family. Her voice is sometimes honest, but always in denial - especially about her alcoholism. Sometimes I felt for her, wondering - is it so bad if she has a glass of wine in her own home? Other times her obvious addiction is terrifying. Through her snarky, witty language, we are able to get a great view of the New England town in which she resides, its real estate landscape, and specifically, of a new resident named Rebecca McAllister.
Rebecca is a seemingly beautiful, rich but bored wife and mother of two adopted children. She moves into one of the largest estates in the neighborhood and begins a close friendship with Hildy. We quickly see that Rebecca is riddled with problems of her own, and the contrast of these two women makes for a fresh and exciting story. Hildy admits in her intelligent, charming way that she was born "three drinks short of comfortable" - and it is this precise admission that pulls the reader in, and we're rooting for her the whole way. This is a real page turner, and it's the best kind of novel -- where nothing major happens, but the author brings light to every day realities and struggles that are relatable, common... and too often kept secret.
I loved the Good House by Ann Leary, and would highly recommend it!