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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Rebecca G. (Menlo Park, CA) (01/06/12)

"A Good American" truly a great read!
"A Good American" grabs your attention in the first chapter and doesn't let go... if you like stories about families, this is for you. I enjoyed the author's story-telling ability and his use of rich language to describe the relationship between the many characters.
Jean O. (DePere, WI) (01/05/12)

A Good American
This is a wonderful book. The prose is beautiful and flowing, the characters are real and interesting. I tabbed several passages because they are memorable. Usually I do not read a book twice, but I am in the process of doing that now. It seemed too abrupt to leave the story. I need more time to savor.
Joan P. (Owego, NY) (01/04/12)

A Good American
"A Good American" turned out to be surprisingly good. It started out being interesting but ordinary. As it went on it gathered steam and got better and better.

The characters that I thought improbable developed and became real. There were some that were unreal but entertaining, a dwarf, a giant, a very seductive school teacher and a bartender that fell down drunk every night, to name a few. Characters came and left only to reappear later in the story. When Frederick sang in France with a piano player from Missouri, I thought I know who he was but who under the age of seventy would know. Later in the story, much later his identity is revealed.

Although the main theme of this book is patriotism and the love an immigrant can feel for America as he raises his family and becomes a citizen, there were numerous threads woven through the story. Frederick's talent and love for music is passed down to his boys. The Kaiser Medal, although it's history caused Jette to be ashamed, is stolen and used bring change to many lives. There were interesting sub-plots concerning religion and race.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely recommend it to my book club.
Jane H. (Owensboro, KY) (01/03/12)

A Good American
This book started out great as a historical fiction book but somewhere along the way the author decided to insert wry humor into the mix. In my opinion, this diluted the effectiveness of the story. Maybe if the entire book had been written this way, I wouldn't have felt so cheated, but having settled in for a good historical fiction read, I was disappointed when this adjustment was added. My opinion is that it is a light read -- certainly not an award winner.
Judy K. (Conroe, TX) (01/02/12)

Great Entertainment!
From page one, this book grabs your attention and doesn't let go. It tells the story that is the same story many American families would tell if they had a talent like Alex George among the ranks. It traces the saga of the Meisenheimer family's journey from Germany in 1904 to America through the present day. Along the way, we experience little slices of history as they touched this family: prohibition, racism, WWI, WWII, the Great Depression. We see how a given talent, singing in this instance, runs through generation after generation. We see how tastes in food and music evolve through the years. Throughout the telling of this American Story, we laugh out loud at characters like a dwarf attorney dressed in three-piece suits and a spinster aunt with a pronounced case of hypochondria. It is very interesting to trace the Americanization of the Meisenheimers from Frederick and Jette to their great-grandchildren who are as far removed from Germany as four generations can take them. Great read. You won't be disappointed.
Joan B. (Ellicott City, MD) (12/29/11)

A Good American
I really loved reading this book. The theme that really called to me was the joy, comfort and fellowship the generations of the family recieved from music. I have always depended on the happiness that music can bring to the soul. It was a thrill to have that feeling expressed in a novel.

How delightful to have the feelings of patriotism described and expressed in a modern novel. My wish would be for everyone to read and feel this love of the USA.

The story line was somewhat like a soap or even reality TV. However, the underlying themes of the plot line were inspiring.
Rachel D. (Leominster, MA) (12/28/11)

A Good American
I have read this book and found it to be charming and sad and funny. The family coming to America and learning the language and habits of Americans and how to get along is inspiring. It moves along at a good pace and keeps the reader interested from begining to end.
MaryEllen K. (Albany, NY) (12/27/11)

A Good American
I was very eager to read this book, based on the advanced praise. However, I found that it got off to a very slow start for the first 65 pages. Then, finally, I started to care about Frederick, Jette, Joseph, and Rosa. These characters were well drawn and had great potential for development, but it seemed to me that the author put more focus onto the historical events (WW l, Prohibition, Big Flood, Stock Market Crash, WW ll, etc.) that surrounded their lives. Lomax was one character that I felt I knew well, and I really enjoyed the way he befriended and loved both Joseph and Rosa. The book soon turned its focus onto the next generation of Meisenheimers- James, Freddy, Frank, and Teddy.
I must honestly say that I didn't feel a connection to any of these brothers, their wives, or their children. This novel was a generational saga, but I feel that the author could have written a better book if he had aimed for more depth, rather than breadth.

Beyond the Book:
  German Americans

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