THE GOOD HOUSE by Ann Leary (is my Girlfriend)Posted: February 26, 2013
WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT:
This books has been getting so many French kisses on Twitter how could I not pick up a copy?
Hildy Good (descended from Sarah Good of the Salem Witch Trial Goods) is a real-estate agent in small-town, rich-person Connecticut and a not-so-recovering alcoholic who befriends a beautiful and fragile newcomer to the town. What follows is a darkly comic novel of manners about habits that won’t quit and addictions that won’t be AA’d away. I don’t want to give too much plot away because the experience of reading this book felt like such a voyage of discovery, and I don’t want to take any of those discoveries away from you because I’m nice!
That isn’t to say it was a twisty-turny plot. In fact it lays out more like a character study of this small town and a few of its key inhabitants. It’s a deeply engaging character study, full of very human and flawed characters whom I could never stay even one step ahead of much less two!
Hildy narrates in first person and is one of my favorite first-person narrators in a good, long while. She’s such a wonderful casserole of contradictions- so deeply observant and tuned into other people that she can guess childhood secrets and convince her conversation partners she’s psychic when all she’s doing is picking up on the subtlest of physical cues. On the flip side, she’s in complete denial about her alcoholism, and the justifications and qualifications she makes regarding her addiction and subsequent behavior is as hilarious as a Marx Brothers bit and as terrifying as a Stephen King novel.
The other characters are great- Hildy’s new neighbor Rebecca, her psychiatrist friend/office building mate Peter, her old fling Frank, her gay ex-husband and judgy/needy daughters, they round out the cast beautifully, but let’s be real, this is Hildy’s show. And what a show it is. This book ranks up with some of my favorite domestic (or domestic-ish) drama reads of the past year (THE MIDDLESTEINS, TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME, THE INTERESTINGS). It’s as funny as WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE and towards the end gets GONE GIRL creepy. I know it’s a lot of high praise. The book is worth it. GOOD HOUSE, get on it, girl.
WHAT KIND OF GIRLFRIEND IS SHE: The funniest and drunkest of girlfriends.
MY DATE WITH “THE GOOD HOUSE”:
She’s had a LOT of wine this afternoon.
I try to take the bottle away…
…and get yelled at a lot.