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The Good House

by Ann Leary

The Good House
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Jan 2013
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 27 reader reviews for The Good House
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Dee H. (Greenfield, CA) (12/04/12)

Denial: Definitely Not a River in Egypt
I really did enjoy this book. The protagonist, Hildy, was so real to me, I wanted to smack her for some of her poor decisions. She reminded me so much of some of the people I worked with when I was a secretary/receptionist at a Chemical Dependency Unit at a local hospital. You really can justify almost anything to yourself rather than face the truth. Her daughters struck me as naive, though, in believing that she remained in recovery so easily.

I really like the sense of place this novel possesses. This, along with the author's wry sense of humor, kept me happily turning pages until, all too soon, I reached the end. The hints about the supernatural are also intriguing: Does Hildy have a gift? Is there something to the witchiness hinted at throughout the story? I would heartily recommend this novel to my "booky" friends and to anyone else who wants a good read.
Carol N. (San Jose, CA) (12/04/12)

The Good House by Anny Leary
This was a good weekend read – chock full of wonderful, flawed characters with some pretty wicked senses of humor. The protagonist, Hildy Good is a 60-year old real estate agent who having survived her Hazelden invention two years earlier needs to prove she is neither an alcoholic nor a witch. She is truly an "original" that is irresistibly likeable but very untrustworthy. As a longtime resident, she pretty much knows everything (good or bad) that happens in the small New England town of Wendover. Having befriended a recent client, Rebecca McAllister, she becomes involved in her torrid affair with the town's resident psychologist. Soon her life goes into a tailspin and the tone darkens with approaching tragedy. This book is funny, poignant and terrifying. I believe that Ann Leary has achieved her goal – to write a legitimately funny novel about alcoholism without getting too preachy.
Wendy E. (Mechanicsville, VA) (12/03/12)

The Good House: A Good Book
Hildy is a quirky, wonderful, if sometimes unreliable narrator, whose voice and stories immediately invite you into her life and her small town. She doesn't always see the truth of things, but then who among us does. The style of writing is light and easy, though there is certainly a message here, as well as some action and humor. The back of the book suggests it is "hilarious." I wouldn't go that far, but this is definitely an entertaining and inviting read.
Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA) (12/02/12)

What the Good House Tells
My rating was a borderline between a 3 and a 4. The Good House interested me with its first sentence, "I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist could after a year of sessions." Later, the storyline annoyed me with its disjointed, seemingly unresolved scenes and one-dimensional secondary characters. Then it dawned on me that this first person story is from the perspective of Hildy Good, an aging woman, who was the former town party girl, an independent business owner in a very charming New England town, and an alcoholic. From this perspective, the story was riveting, well-crafted, suspenseful, disturbing, and engaging.
Bess W. (Marlton, NJ) (12/02/12)

The Good House
The story line was interesting--lots of social issues, primarily Hildy's alcoholism. I could relate to the talk about autism since one of my friends has twins that are autistic. Dealing with this can be quite daunting.
Growing up in a small town does not allow for many secrets.
Although many of the characters were quite interesting I found the story line lacking. The author handled the social issues well but tried to deal with too may issues.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA) (12/01/12)

An Entertaining Easy Read
If the primary goal of a novel is to entertain, and I think it is, then Ann Leary's The Good House performed this task admirably. I felt like I was in Wendover, Massachusetts, and meeting all of its delightful citizens. Of course they were all flawed; perfect people make for very dull stories. Hildy Good is a very flawed narrator and I loved her realness. She is blunt, unsentimental, self un- aware, manipulative and at times funny as hell. The author's portrayal of her struggles with alcohol are spot on and truly tragic. Not a story to change your life, but a fun, intelligent read that I enjoyed thoroughly. I plan to read other works by Ms. Leary.
Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC) (11/30/12)

The Good House
The Good House is very good! Ann Leary has hit the nail on the head with Hildy Good with her snarky portrayal of a real estate agent doing her darndest to get listings and sell homes. The fact that Hildy is also a full-blown alcoholic trying to kid her kids into believing their intervention and "incarceration" at an addiction center has worked and dried her out when, in reality, she is becoming more wily by the day is - sorry - funny. Hildy can come up with some absolutely logical (to her) reasons why she is no longer an alcoholic, but at the same time, the story shows her tiptoe-ing through the tulips as she enjoys more and more the sauce that will surely kill her. Her drunken logic is right on, and gets her into a peck of trouble. I enjoyed her relationship with Frankie, a local and old boyfriend, while her girls really irked me with their righteousness. The horse scenes were well written, obviously by a person who knows the ropes with owning, showing, and loving a horse. Leary has written a good story of things she is informed about, probably has done a bunch of research, and put together an interesting life story for a middle-aged woman with a few foibles and lots of denial.
Again, a truly good story, well written, well told, that held my interest more and more as it went on. I absolutely enjoyed this book!
Steve B. (Spring, TX) (11/29/12)

Hildy In Denial
Hildy Good is an alcoholic in denial. She has undergone one bout with rehab and although it was successful in curbing her drinking in the short term, she has reverted to drinking in "moderation". Her downward spiral with this affliction reaches the point where her addiction is the controlling influence on her entire existence and on the lives of everyone with whom she comes in contact.
All through the story, I was rooting for her to crush this demonic affliction and return to her productive, loving and rewarding life.
After sometimes comic and oftentimes tragic interactions with her friends, lover and neighbors, Hildy does face her demons and makes another try to eradicate them. We are left to wonder about the outcome.


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