BookBrowse Reviews A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Good Hard Look

A Novel

by Ann Napolitano

A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A fictional account of the life of Flannery O'Connor

With 18 out of 20 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars, A Good Hard Look is a top pick among BookBrowse readers!

Here's what they have to say:
Ann Napolitano has written a compelling story with a Southern Gothic feel. I love the way the major characters' lives intertwine (Ken F). As a Georgia resident, I thoroughly enjoyed Napolitano's exploration and examination of the lives in a tiny Georgia town transformed by its most famous daughter, Flannery O'Connor (Barbara A). We are privy to the internal lives of no less than eight main characters and they are all compelling. The writing style is quiet, unassuming, compassionate, giving voice to the turmoil and clashes of opposites in the heart of each character - intense joy and heartbreaking tragedy, passion and indifference, selfishness and generosity, engagement and withdrawal, attraction and rejection. This book is luminous with sadness and insight (Judy B), and the peacock imagery woven throughout serves the story beautifully (Karen R).

Some drew comparisons to Flannery O'Connor's writing, and others were inspired to seek out her work:
This book is almost as satisfying as reading Flannery O'Connor. The characters are not as unusual as hers, and yet, to me, the themes of morality and ethics present in her fiction and essays are a significant part of this plot (Marjorie A). I haven't read much Flannery O'Conner, but after A Good Hard Look, I want to go out a read more of her work (Martha D).

But a few were not impressed:
The writing style is very simple - short sentences: subject - verb; subject - verb. The characters are, at best, two dimensional. Many triangles of sad, unhappy, unfulfilled folks (Marganna K). I hoped to learn more about Ms. O'Connor than that she had lupus, raised peacocks and was a devout Catholic. To really know this great author read her work and a good biography (Martha P).

Overall:
An engaging story that will resonate even after you have finished (Kate G). Some books are simply born to be re-read, and then probably read again! Very much in the way Melvin thought of Flannery O'Connor, this novel strategically rubbed the facade of the many social pretenses right off everyday small town social interactions. It was intriguing with moments of brilliance, and led the reader to look very closely at the things that really matter between the people in our lives! Highly recommended - for both personal reading and for book group discussions (Kathrin C). Fans of O'Connor will love the book, and those who have never read her will want to (Loretta F).

This review was originally published in July 2011, and has been updated for the June 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Southern Gothic

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...
  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Heart's Invisible Furies
    by John Boyne

    A sweeping, heartfelt saga set in Ireland from the author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written--a story about sacrifice and motherhood.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I's A D Before D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.