Shirley L. (Norco, LA)
An Entertaining Easy Read
If the primary goal of a novel is to entertain, and I think it is, then Ann Leary's The Good House performed this task admirably. I felt like I was in Wendover, Massachusetts, and meeting all of its delightful citizens. Of course they were all flawed; perfect people make for very dull stories. Hildy Good is a very flawed narrator and I loved her realness. She is blunt, unsentimental, self un- aware, manipulative and at times funny as hell. The author's portrayal of her struggles with alcohol are spot on and truly tragic. Not a story to change your life, but a fun, intelligent read that I enjoyed thoroughly. I plan to read other works by Ms. Leary.
Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
The Good House
The Good House is very good! Ann Leary has hit the nail on the head with Hildy Good with her snarky portrayal of a real estate agent doing her darndest to get listings and sell homes. The fact that Hildy is also a full-blown alcoholic trying to kid her kids into believing their intervention and "incarceration" at an addiction center has worked and dried her out when, in reality, she is becoming more wily by the day is - sorry - funny. Hildy can come up with some absolutely logical (to her) reasons why she is no longer an alcoholic, but at the same time, the story shows her tiptoe-ing through the tulips as she enjoys more and more the sauce that will surely kill her. Her drunken logic is right on, and gets her into a peck of trouble. I enjoyed her relationship with Frankie, a local and old boyfriend, while her girls really irked me with their righteousness. The horse scenes were well written, obviously by a person who knows the ropes with owning, showing, and loving a horse. Leary has written a good story of things she is informed about, probably has done a bunch of research, and put together an interesting life story for a middle-aged woman with a few foibles and lots of denial.
Again, a truly good story, well written, well told, that held my interest more and more as it went on. I absolutely enjoyed this book!
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
Hildy In Denial
Hildy Good is an alcoholic in denial. She has undergone one bout with rehab and although it was successful in curbing her drinking in the short term, she has reverted to drinking in "moderation". Her downward spiral with this affliction reaches the point where her addiction is the controlling influence on her entire existence and on the lives of everyone with whom she comes in contact.
All through the story, I was rooting for her to crush this demonic affliction and return to her productive, loving and rewarding life.
After sometimes comic and oftentimes tragic interactions with her friends, lover and neighbors, Hildy does face her demons and makes another try to eradicate them. We are left to wonder about the outcome.
Virginia P. (Tallahassee, FL)
The Good House by Ann Leary
The Good House dealt with social issues such as alcoholism, infidelity, a special needs child and the slowing of the economy to name just a few. The author did a good job of portraying an alcoholic in denial as well as life in a coastal resort town inhabited by old timers trying to hold on to their family property versus newcomers with money. The author's ability to handle the issues was commendable though as the book ended I was left not knowing how some were resolved, if they were. Perhaps too many issues were presented in one book. This was a sobering story so it is hard to say that I enjoyed the book or that it was entertaining. I did not find it funny as the book jacket suggested, but sad that lives were being wasted. To use this book as a discussion in a book club could bring up unhappy memories for some members that might be unknown, so I would not recommend it as a book club choice.
Katherine Y. (Albuquerque, NM)
A delightful narrator
This is a fun quick easy read and the narrator, an alcoholic real estate agent, is a pleasure to spend time with, but the plot didn't really engage me. The main character is very well conceived and convincingly executed, but the other characters in the book (her children, ex-husband, new friend and lover) all seemed flat and stereotypical, so ultimately the plot wasn't very interesting.
Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)
A Wonderfully Honest (if deluded) Narrator
In The Good House Ann Leary has created an appealing although seriously flawed character who will have you rooting for her even as you are appalled by her behavior. Set in a upscale north shore Massachusetts town with it's townies and its wealthy newcomers and Hildy Good as the realtor who knows all the secrets, this book provides a realistic and often amusing look at a changing community. Hildy's lack of self knowledge and self delusion is only outweighed by her assurance that she can really read people. I read this in a single sitting - hoping that Hildy would finally get her act together.