I have to begin by saying that I didn’t have high hopes for The Good House: A Novel by Ann Leary. Somehow, I wrongly thought that Ann Leary was probably not a very good author who only got published because she was married to Dennis Leary.
I was wrong. Very wrong. I loved The Good House. From the very first page:
“I like a house that looks lived in. General wear and tear is a healthy sign; a house that’s too antiseptic speaks as much to me of domestic discord as a house in complete disarray. Alcoholics, hoarders, binge eaters, addicts, sexual deviants, philanderers, depressives – you name it, I can see it all in the worn edges of their nests.”
or later in the story:
“I wouldn’t have recognized them in a group, but I find that the older i get, the more kids just look like kids. I don’t really notice them as much as I used to. On the other hand, I could have instantly picked Harry out of a lineup of similarly marked German shepherds, were there ever a need to do so. Harry was a wonderful character. The boys were just boys.”
The story is told by Hildy Good – who happens to be a descendant of Sarah Good who was persecuted as a witch during the Salem witch trials, she also happens to be an alcoholic. I thought that her portrayal as an alcoholic was very well done. The way her constant need for a drink wove it’s way through her life. When even not having a drink was was saying as much about her alcoholism as having one.
The book is both humorous and sad, and entertaining through it all.