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

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A Good Hard Look

A Novel

by Ann Napolitano

A Good Hard Look
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 336 pages
    Jun 2012, 352 pages

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There are currently 21 reader reviews for A Good Hard Look
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Martha P. (Issaquah, WA) (04/18/11)

Not impressed
In this fictionalized account of the life of a famous and revered Southern author, Flannery O'Connor seems only incidental to the story. I hoped to learn more about Ms. O'Connor than that she had lupus, raised peacocks and was a devout Catholic. Cookie was a stock character, Melvin left me wondering what any woman saw in him besides good looks and money, and Joe, Bill and Lona were right out of a soap opera. Admittedly, I laughed out loud at the "peacock stampede". Poor Flannery, she must be turning over in her grave to be portrayed sniveling for forgiveness at an asylum; I would never believe it in a million years. To really know this great author read her work and a good biography.
Barbara A. (Roswell, GA) (04/17/11)

Well worth the read!
As a Georgia resident (but not native), 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. Napolitano does such a beautiful job of connecting the reader with Flannery and those highlighted individuals from her life, it has spurred me on to read Flannery O'Connor's works. I would highly recommend this book!
Carole G. (Hollidaysburg, PA) (04/14/11)

A View From The Grandstand Of Life
This story captured both my interest and my empathy for the various characters from the very first page. As their lives moved forward I sensed a feeling of knowing and understanding each character, their intricacies and motives. A fascinating thread of the ever present peacocks is expertly woven throughout the storyline, perhaps representative of disappointment, passion, dominance, and what you learn to live with. The plot is about life, not as they dream it will be or plan it to be but simply the reality of what is. Lives intermingle, expectations are altered, needs change, people change, opposing forces clash and ... time passes by.
Kate G. (City Island, NY) (04/13/11)

A Look at Small Town Life
Flannery O'Connor was a Southern novelist and short story writer who had moved up North to live and write. She returns home to her mother in this novel, as she has become chronically ill with lupus and can no longer stay alone. As told through the eyes of several of Flannery's neighbors, seemingly benign interactions set in motion changes which affect them all. An engaging story which will resonate even after you have finished.
Linda S. (Arlington Heights, IL) (04/11/11)

A Good Read
I was very curious to read this book since Flannery O'Connor is portrayed in it. I have read O' Connor and found her challenging to read and her stories are just so magnificently provocative. I wanted to see what the author would do with her. I didn't realize how much the book was going to revolve around her. That being said I enjoyed what the author wrote and liked her perspective of O'Connor. I feel that all of the characters were interesting, eventually. They weren't just 2 dimensional. It did get to a point though that it started to become a little too 'soap opera-ish" and that was disappointing.
I would recommend this book to those that know O'Connor, but also to others that want a good read. I also think that this book could propel Flannery back into the spotlight and have readers get to know her work!
Pamela H. (Winston Salem, NC) (04/10/11)

A Good Hard Look at Life and Flannery O'Connor
Absorbing, well crafted novel by an author very familiar with Flannery O'Connor's life, and quite understanding of her work. The novel's plot hung in the realm of possibility for me, with the exception of the seminal event at Andalusia. The manner in which this occurred seemed out of tune to the truth.
Marjorie A. (32606, Florida) (04/06/11)

A Satisfying Read
This book is almost as satisfying as reading Flannery O’Connor. The characters are not as unusual as hers, and yet, to me her themes of morality and ethics that are present in her fiction and essays are a significant part of this plot. Maybe it is because I am a Southerner, or because I am close to O’Connor’s age, I resonated with many of the characters. I am recommending this book to friends
Anne B. (Odessa, WA) (04/05/11)

A Good Hard Look
If you like in-depth character development, this is an excellent book for you. It reminded me of the excellent films of director, David Mamet. Ann Napolitano has a unique way of delving into the souls of her characters, taking you into the depth of each soul while enabling you to understand and appreciate their bazaar behavior. The plot grows and twists in ways that totally surprised me, yet left me appreciative of each the character's reactions -- and I don't normally read fiction. How she was able to involve Flannery O'Connor in this novel was amazing. This is a great read. I couldn't put it down.
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Beyond the Book:
  Southern Gothic

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