BookBrowse Reviews A Good American by Alex George

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A Good American

A Novel

by Alex George

A Good American by Alex George X
A Good American by Alex George
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2012, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 432 pages

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An uplifting novel about the families we create and the places we call home

Alex George's A Good American has received wonderful reviews from BookBrowse readers; 20 out of 23 people rate if 4 or 5 stars! Here's what they have to say:

A Good American is one of the best generational stories I have ever read. The author - Alex George - is an immigrant, who has obviously fallen in love with America. His understanding of the challenges and opportunities experienced by our ancestors upon entry into the United States is evident. This novel presents the reader with a wide range of emotional highs and lows, joys and tragedies, and examples of good behavior and dastardly acts (Steve B). George's novel grabbed and held my attention from the very beginning. I felt that the characters were well drawn, the family story lines were consistent and well developed, and everything was entirely believable (Mary D). A Good American was engaging and heartwarming with some surprising twists. James is a great chronicler of his family's history, with the right amount of humor and compassion. I loved this book (Elinor S)!

Some BookBrowse reviewers were drawn to Alex George's realistic characters:
All of the characters were "real people" complete with flaws, inabilities to communicate, and misunderstandings (Mary D); they were believable and interesting and blended well (Lynn R). I was never bored as the character development and various story lines held my interest and stayed with me long after finishing the book (Roni S). I give the author a lot of credit for not allowing too much sentimentality to infuse his novel and for injecting a great dose of humor into his writing! Really, parts were laugh-out-loud funny... And kudos to the author, too, for not peppering Beatrice, Missouri with too many "quirky" characters (Heather K)!

While others enjoyed the book's many well-developed themes:
The book is full of love and tolerance, justices and injustices. It also contains a surprise or two (Helen M). How delightful to have feelings of patriotism described and expressed in a modern novel (Joan B). 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. At times you can almost hear notes being played and voices raised in song - a terrific achievement (Heather K). The prose is beautiful and flowing, the characters are real and interesting (Jean O). It moves along at a good pace and keeps the reader interested from beginning to end (Rachel D).

However, a few readers found room for improvement:
The only thing I did not like was the continual foreshadowing... I don't think the story needed it (Betsy R). My only complaint is that it was a bit predictable but, thank goodness, not overly so (Anna S).

But overall, the majority of BookBrowse reviewers were delighted by George's novel, and were thrilled to read about the immigrant experience:
I loved this book. I know so little about my grandparents' journey to America, and now I feel a loss that I don't know more. We're all aware that immigrants move in the hopes of having 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 (Elizabeth P). A Good American is a must-read primer on American culture and trends in the last century. It has been a long time since I enjoyed a book as thoroughly as this one (Mary S)!

Who should read this book?
This book is great for book clubs, with its many themes to explore: post-war Europe, marital relationships, familial relationships, race, religion, and small-town living (Kathy S). 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 (Rebecca G). I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys writing at its best (Frances B).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in February 2012, and has been updated for the February 2013 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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