Reader reviews and comments on A Good American, plus links to write your own review.

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A Good American

A Novel

By Alex George

A Good American
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2012,
    400 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2013,
    432 pages.

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Roni S. (Pittsburgh, PA) (01/26/12)

A Good American
"The Good American" is an excellent multi-generational story. (1904-1984) Most of the story is set in a small town in Missouri. It is narrated by the grandson. Music, food, church, family, friends, and a restaurant continue through the generations. This book would lead to interesting book club discussions about family, discrimination, religion, community, and immigration. I was never bored as the character development and various story lines held my interest and stayed with me long after finishing the book. Part of my family immigrated to Shelbina, Missouri. My paternal great-grandmother was born in Shelbina in 1870 so the book gave me a better understanding of my history. It would make an excellent movie.
Betsy R. (Gig Harbor, WA) (01/19/12)

Good American
During a rare snowstorm here in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to read The Good American - and read it straight through in one afternoon. I found the story to be leisurely but entertaining; I also enjoyed the small town setting. The characters
of Jette and Frederick were my favorites, with Rosa next in line-I wanted to know more about her. The only thing I did not like was the continual foreshadowing thrown in...I did not think the story needed it. I will probably select this for my book group to read, however - the central theme of what it means to be in a family is one that has many areas for discussion.
Elizabeth P. (north massapequq, new york) (01/19/12)

A GOOD AMERICAN
I loved this book. I know so little of my grandparents journey to America and having read this book, I feel such a loss that I don't know more. We all know that the immigrants came to have a better life, but there's more than that to each personal journey. There's a line in this book that says it all. "I understand when Joseph listened to us, he could hear the distant echo of his own sweet song" I wish I had the echo of their sweet song.
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO) (01/18/12)

Not for me
The characters did not grasp my interest. The story was good, but did not flow cohesively and seemed interrupted by current events.
Elinor S. (Loudonville, NY) (01/13/12)

A good American
As I started reading this book, I thought, "I bet this is going to be inane and boring". I could not have been more wrong. It was engaging and heartwarming with some surprising twists. James is a great chroniciler of his family's history, with the right amount of humor and compassion. I loved this book!!
Mary D. (Claremont, CA) (01/08/12)

A Good American
A Good American by Alex George was a "good read." It grabbed and held my attention from the very beginning. I felt that the characters were very well drawn, the family story lines were very well developed and consistent; everything was entirely believable, starting with the reasons for leaving Europe, why Frederick and Jette settled where they settled, and how family fortunes evolved. This book would make an excellent mini-series, along the lines of Roots or the Lonesome Dove mini-series. All of the characters were "real people" complete with flaws, inabilities to communicate, misunderstandings. The few "bad seeds" were almost horrific when the story unfolded and all questions were answered. This book is easy to read, not requiring more than a basic background knowledge in American or world history. I throroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
Lynn R. (Wautoma, WI) (01/07/12)

A Good American
I really enjoy a good historical novel in the mix with my mysteries. This one was perfect, I could hardly put it down. I was a little nervous at first because it did not grip me until the 2nd or 3rd chapter, but then it had me. The characters were believable and interesting and blended well.

I have recommended this book for my book club for later in the year because there are many topic for conversation. Excellent book!
Kathy S. (Danbury, CT) (01/06/12)

Loved this Book
I absolutely loved this book; an exceptional debut novel. The tempo starts out slowly, and quickly accelerates as the novel progresses. The characters were well-developed and I felt a true sense of loss when I read the last page. I look forward to a follow-up novel.

This book would work well for book clubs, with its many themes to explore: post-war Europe, marital relationships, familial relationships, race, religion, small-town living.

Beyond the Book:
  German Americans

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