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

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

Page 3 of 3
There are currently 21 reader reviews for A Good Hard Look
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Martha D. (Poway, CA) (03/31/11)

A Good Hard Look
I understand there are many people who don't enjoy speculative historical fiction. I'm not one of them. I take them as a work of fiction with a character name I happen to know. And the references to their lives usually makes me want to find out more about them. I really enjoyed Gothic feel of this book. I haven't read much Flannery O'Conner but after reading this book I want to go out a read more of her work. Much like The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott I'd like to think Flannery had a little life in her life even if it may have lead to heartache. I love a good piece of Southern fiction and this is a good piece of Southern Fiction. I look forward to seeing what this author does next.
Judy B. (Marysville, OH) (03/31/11)

This wonderful book does Flannery O'Connor proud
I wanted to read this book because the real-life Flannery O’Connor is a main character. And, yes, her character alone grabbed my attention when I started reading, but the more I read the more I could not put the book down. 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. The author writes on her Web site that she worked on the book for seven years because she wanted it to be worthy of O’Connor, whom she admires not only as a great writer but as a person who lived a “well-lived life,” a concept that is a major theme of this book. I feel that she has done O’Connor proud. I’m inspired to re-read Flannery O’Conner and to get my hands on Ann Napolitano’s first book, Within Arm’s Reach, right away.
Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC) (03/29/11)

Almost Flannery
When I read Flannery O'Connor's short stories in college, I found them thought provoking and disturbingly honest. Reading Napolitano's book was almost like reading Flannery again. I liked the title, so ironic, and so very much like the titles of Flannery's stories. If some of the characters in "A Good Hard Look" had only taken a good hard look, then tragedy might have been avoided. One of the major themes of the novel is our interconnectedness with others. No one acts alone, especially in a small southern town.

My only criticism is the peacocks. While they were necessary to tie the characters and plot together, I thought the author's use of them was overdone, so that the story seemed unbelievable at times. Fans of Flannery O'Connor will love the book, and those who have never read her will want to.
Karen R. (Gilbert, AZ) (03/29/11)

Ambition and Heartbreak
At first a familiar, whimsical account of a New Yorker adjusting to small-town life, inquisitive neighbors, and their private ambitions as well as their heartbreaks, the later portion of the novel darkens when an event alters the course of several characters' lives -- a shift that places Flannery O'Connor in a position of self-inflicted guilt that fans of the author may find too speculative. Readers familiar with Southern Gothic novels may also find the darkness in this one does not reach similar depths; still, the novel presents a redemptive conclusion after several difficulties, and the peacock imagery woven throughout serves the story beautifully.
Robin M. (Corpus Christi, TX) (03/24/11)

A Good Hard Look
Ann Napolitano has produced one of those rare novels which will pull you into another time and place- Milledgeville,Georgia and Andalusia-home of Flannery O'Connor.Like Flannery's famed peacocks perched precariously in a magnolia tree,the inhabitants teeter on the edge of normalcy,living on the periphery of each others lives while inwardly struggling with the isolation and constraints of their own.It is only after a shockingly violent and tragic event that will break your heart that they begin to really see each other and transform their own lives.
I would highly recommend this book.it is beautifully written and stayed with me long after the last page was turned.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Beyond the Book:
  Southern Gothic

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...
  • Book Jacket: Rebellion
    Rebellion
    by Molly Patterson
    Rebellion overlays the stories of four women, spanning a century and the globe in their wide ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

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.