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: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Men are more moral than they think...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

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.

 
Modal popup -