Susan S. (Lafayette, CA)
A classic unreliable narrator
I became delighted with this book about 20 pages in when I realized that Hildy Good, the main character, is a classic unreliable narrator. She seems to have a pretty accurate take on those around her, but is utterly deluded about herself. The story is witty, insightful, and surprisingly complex, with a mix of great characters and several different but overlapping story arcs that tie together by the end, touching on real estate, New England small towns, infidelity, psychiatry, autism, late-in-life romance, and alcoholism.
Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI)
The Good House
The Good House is both enjoyable and well-written. It is the story of Hildy Good, the 7th generation descendant of Sarah Good, who was persecuted as a witch during the infamous Salem witch hunt. Hildy is the narrator of this book and I thoroughly enjoyed her insights and opinions about the people and events of her life. She refuses to admit, however, that she is an alcoholic in need of help. Despite this problem, she is a successful real estate broker, partly because of her ability to "read" people which she considers a party trick rather than a gift. Hildy is a complex character, whom I greatly enjoyed meeting. The plot feels contrived at times, but the book is well worth reading.
Carol N. (San Jose, CA)
The Good House by Anny Leary
This was a good weekend read – chock full of wonderful, flawed characters with some pretty wicked senses of humor. The protagonist, Hildy Good is a 60-year old real estate agent who having survived her Hazelden invention two years earlier needs to prove she is neither an alcoholic nor a witch. She is truly an "original" that is irresistibly likeable but very untrustworthy. As a longtime resident, she pretty much knows everything (good or bad) that happens in the small New England town of Wendover. Having befriended a recent client, Rebecca McAllister, she becomes involved in her torrid affair with the town's resident psychologist. Soon her life goes into a tailspin and the tone darkens with approaching tragedy. This book is funny, poignant and terrifying. I believe that Ann Leary has achieved her goal – to write a legitimately funny novel about alcoholism without getting too preachy.
Dee H. (Greenfield, CA)
Denial: Definitely Not a River in Egypt
I really did enjoy this book. The protagonist, Hildy, was so real to me, I wanted to smack her for some of her poor decisions. She reminded me so much of some of the people I worked with when I was a secretary/receptionist at a Chemical Dependency Unit at a local hospital. You really can justify almost anything to yourself rather than face the truth. Her daughters struck me as naive, though, in believing that she remained in recovery so easily.
I really like the sense of place this novel possesses. This, along with the author's wry sense of humor, kept me happily turning pages until, all too soon, I reached the end. The hints about the supernatural are also intriguing: Does Hildy have a gift? Is there something to the witchiness hinted at throughout the story? I would heartily recommend this novel to my "booky" friends and to anyone else who wants a good read.
Wendy E. (Mechanicsville, VA)
The Good House: A Good Book
Hildy is a quirky, wonderful, if sometimes unreliable narrator, whose voice and stories immediately invite you into her life and her small town. She doesn't always see the truth of things, but then who among us does. The style of writing is light and easy, though there is certainly a message here, as well as some action and humor. The back of the book suggests it is "hilarious." I wouldn't go that far, but this is definitely an entertaining and inviting read.
Bess W. (Marlton, NJ)
The Good House
The story line was interesting--lots of social issues, primarily Hildy's alcoholism. I could relate to the talk about autism since one of my friends has twins that are autistic. Dealing with this can be quite daunting.
Growing up in a small town does not allow for many secrets.
Although many of the characters were quite interesting I found the story line lacking. The author handled the social issues well but tried to deal with too may issues.
Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)
What the Good House Tells
My rating was a borderline between a 3 and a 4. The Good House interested me with its first sentence, "I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist could after a year of sessions." Later, the storyline annoyed me with its disjointed, seemingly unresolved scenes and one-dimensional secondary characters. Then it dawned on me that this first person story is from the perspective of Hildy Good, an aging woman, who was the former town party girl, an independent business owner in a very charming New England town, and an alcoholic. From this perspective, the story was riveting, well-crafted, suspenseful, disturbing, and engaging.