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The Good House: A Novel

The Good House: A Novel

Написано Ann Leary

Озвучено Mary Beth Hurt


The Good House: A Novel

Написано Ann Leary

Озвучено Mary Beth Hurt

оценки:
4.5/5 (28 оценки)
Длина:
10 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 15, 2013
ISBN:
9781427228895
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

A riveting novel in which an engaging and wildly irreverent woman is in complete denial-about herself, her drinking, and her love for a man she's known all her life.

Ann Leary's The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place—"if they invite you over for dinner, and it's not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life"—and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn't enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There's a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire-and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 15, 2013
ISBN:
9781427228895
Формат:
Аудиокнига


Об авторе

Ann Leary is the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novel Outtakes From a Marriage. She has written fiction and non-fiction for various magazines and literary publications. She and her family share their small farm in Connecticut with four dogs, three horses and an angry cat named Sneakers.

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4.3
28 оценки / 38 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    Ann Leary, the author of "The Good House", is spot-on in her description of alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and those around them. If you have ever loved an alcoholic, or ever known one as a friend or coworker, then you will recognize much truth in the author's storytelling. Even more striking for me, I actually have "known" the characters in this book, except that my people live in a small town in the mountains of VA, not a small seaside community on the coast of MA. The narrator of "The Good House" is Hildy Good, a top-notch realtor entering her sixties with a drinking problem intertwined with the requisite personal issues accumulated through decades of denial. After a stint in rehab, Hildy feels she has a grip on her problem--she just needs to control her alcohol consumption, not give it up. When a beautiful young woman, Rebecca, and her family move to Hildy's community, Hildy finds an unexpected friend. Hildy can trace her ancestry back to the Massachusetts of the 1600s, where one of her ancestors was tried and hanged as a witch. Hildy can "read" people due to her astute powers of observation and her many years of dealing with the public and their idiosyncrasies. She lets people think that she can read minds because it amuses her and suits her purposes. She just can't get her own mind to accept the fact that she must give up alcohol, and in true alcoholic tradition, she blurs reality in her thoughts to excuse and erase her own actions. Her marriage ended because her husband was gay, and her relationships with her grown children are anything but smooth. Then there's Frank--her old flame and lifelong friend--who wants more than friendship from Hildy. When local scandals leave no one untouched, Hildy finds out just how connected she is the people in her community, and it's time for her to choose her future path. Will she force herself to face her alcohol addiction? Is there a second chance for happiness for Hildy and Frank? Author Ann Leary will have you rooting for her perfectly imperfect heroine to find her way out of the bottle and sail toward a clear horizon.Book Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
  • (3/5)
    From my Cannonball Read V review...

    This is an interesting novel, just released last month. It's one I would recommend for those looking for a book with a little bit of mystery, a lot of character study (can we really judge ourselves accurately?) and some vivid scenery. Suggested to me by the same person who offered up 'Defending Jacob,' it tells the story from the perspective of Hilda Good, a divorced real estate agent in her late 50s/early 60s who still lives in the Massachusetts seaside town where she grew up. She has a bit of a drinking problem (the size of which is debated throughout the book) and not a lot of friends.

    The book follows Hildy over the course of a very eventful year as she befriends a new town resident, becomes privy to some secrets perhaps she should not, and rediscovers (in various different ways) friends from her youth. Hildy is the type of character who is flawed and you see it. She isn't hateful, or horrible; she's just not perfect. I don't have any experience with alcoholic parents, so I can't say whether the depiction of her and her family would ring true to someone who does, but it did not seem cartoonish to me. Instead, the writing portrays a woman who thinks she knows her limits but may be quite close to pushing them further than she can handle.

    The pacing of the book felt a little off, but I do wonder if part of that is due to reading it on an e-reader. I know it sounds odd, but even though there's a little percentage complete box at the bottom of the screen, I have a much harder time putting that into perspective as compared to when I'm holding a physical book in my hand. My brain has spent over 30 years expecting books to flow in a certain manner relative to the amount remaining; with an e-reader those cues are gone. It did at times feel like a lot of 'nothing' was happening, but I never had to struggle to pick it up, finishing it in about three days, and am still able to picture the town, the houses, and all of the characters quite vividly.

    I'd say this is a great little read for a weekend spent somewhere chilly. Add it to your mid-October reading list, warm up some cider and let yourself spend some time in New England.
  • (4/5)
    enjoyed the book, but it was NOT a satisfying ending!
  • (5/5)
    I haven't read anything else by Leary, but I will now. A little interview with the author stated that the book began as a story about the romance between two characters with Hildy as kind of a colorful aside, but Hildy took over. She's a 60 something realtor, the number one businesswoman in her small town, mother of 2 grown daughters, divorced, living alone and denying her alcoholism. She's both reclusive and prickly, like Olive Kitteridge and very social. Her analysis of her life and the lives of other people and properties in the town are priceless. I don't have a problem with alcohol but I come from a family full of people who do, and she seems to have it down pat. She's also descended from one of the Salem witches and is witchilly able to read micro-expressions to the extent that people think she can read minds. The only bad thing about the book is that it's over and I can't loll around in Hildy's life anymore
  • (4/5)
    Slow burning domestic drama. Excellent characterization. Really enjoyed this one.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book, especially because it was told from the point of view of an alcoholic. The book jacket stated it was comical but honestly I didn't find any of it funny at all. I liked that the setting was in a small town on the ocean near Boston and New York, you get a view of life in a small town in 2012.
  • (4/5)
    This is a book that manages to take a tough subject and make it somehow light hearted and fun. I loved the narrator, Hildy, in the book as she certainly has a unique perspective on her drinking problem and on life. Hildy is a person who has been through a lot in her lifetime. An alcoholic mother, a husband who left her for another man and daughters who are involved in their own lives. However Hildy makes her life fun and has a good heart. The only issue I had was that the ending seemed a bit rushed but I still very much enjoyed it. This is a light hearted and fun read. Reader received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Good Reads First Reads.
  • (4/5)
    Forget all those drunkalogues on the best seller lists. Ann Leary's novel captures the inner life of a boozy Realtor with sensitivity, humor, and pathos.
  • (5/5)
    Fab book. Leary really got into the heart and soul of an alcoholic while also telling a great story.
  • (2/5)
    Started out good. Narrator was entertaining. Then I found it became a long drawn out story about people I didn’t care about. The narrator’s voice also started to bother me by midway through. I would not recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    Loved the narration. Also nice to hear a book about older people and how they are still valuable to the community
  • (4/5)
    I was in the middle of several "My family was a toxic dump, yet I turned out amazing" books, and wanted a break from all the negativity and dysfunction. I desperately needed a book with normal and happy people. This book, indeed, was a fast and somewhat happy read, and the people was somewhat normal, as normal as the people in yours, or my neighborhood.

    As a realtor of a quaint New England town near the North Shores, Hildy Good has been a top-seller for many years. She's 60, divorced, kids grown, lives comfortably alone and makes good money. People think she's a witch (which is not true), since she knows everything and everyone quite well, not to mention that she's also the descendant of a witch that was hung at the Salem's Witch Trial. She could just read people and houses very well by observing and noticing clues. Her friends and family also think she's an alcoholic (this might be true,) although she constantly denies it since she could function quite normally after a glass or two. She's a fun, humorous, witty, no-nonsense and likable narrator.

    This book reminded me how much I enjoy reading character-driven books. The last few that I enjoyed were The Darlings, The World Without You, The Snow Child and The Death of Bees. There are the rich McCallisters, who just moved in. Brian is busy and so much older than his young, lonely and infertile wife, Rebecca. There's Frank, who is the town garbage man and fix-anything guy....whom Hilda had a special relationship with. There's Peter, who's a shrink with an office upstairs whom Hilda and her friends babysat when younger... There are Patch and Cassie with their special-need son, Jake. I wished the author had described their physical appearance a bit more. The image of Hildy in my visual mind is blurry, although I know her quite well now. However, somewhere in the book, we did learn that Frank looks like a gnome, and Rebecca is skinny and elegant. The author used the following poem to describe her:

    "I knew a woman, lovely in her bones......(She moved in circles, and those circles moved)....

    A quick and easy read, and the unexpected twist at the end was a surprise.

    For those who are interested in my "My family was a toxic dump, yet I turned out amazing" books. I'm also in the middle of: "Wild" and "With or Without You." I just finished "The Death of Bees."
  • (4/5)
    Wonderful - I thought she perfectly captured the rationalization that goes on in the mind of a drunk. I also liked the look at life in the area.
  • (4/5)
    I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of this book. And then, because I'm a fair kind of guy, I waited until everyone *else* had a copy to read it.I enjoyed Ann Leary's style, I loved the setting, of course, and it made me slightly homesick, throughout. It's set in a fictional town on the north shore of Massachusetts, God's own country. While she did an excellent job giving an idea of the area and habits of inhabitants of areas like these, at times it felt a little heavy-handed. But perhaps that's me. I know what a regular coffee is at a Dunks. I feel like this should be an ingrained part of every human soul on the planet, something that everyone understands intrinsically. But I could be wrong. She also leans a little hard (or is that 'hahd'?) on the colloquial spellings for the locals, and I suppose it's been a general national trend for the last few years to point out that, hee-eeeey, people from the Northeast and in and around Boston talk differently, sometimes. Hell, my own daughter, born down the road in a non-fictional north shore town, is obsessed with how daddy and his parents say things.But I got past all that stuff and got sucked into this story of Hildy Good, the witch's descendent with a penchant for reading people and selling houses. And drinking. When I wasn't enjoying the story and getting sucked along like detritus from a 747 that was ripping apart at the seams an inconvenient distance from the ground, I often had thoughts that the Leary household must either be one gigantic alcoholic mess of a party, 24/7, or it must be 100% totally dry. Between "The Good House" and Ann's husband's show Rescue Me, about an alcoholic, recovering alcoholic, no, no, plain alcoholic fireman, I feel as if I could get a contact buzz off the sheer volume of liquor and wine being consumed between the two stories.And why not? Ann certainly has plenty to celebrate with this pretty well wrought story about a fictional town in the loveliest place on earth.
  • (4/5)
    The basics: Hildy Good is a real estate agent near Salem, Massachusetts. She went to rehab at the behest of her two grown daughters, but she's not an alcoholic.My thoughts: The Good House is one of those books many were quietly raving about most of 2013, but yet it never seemed to really get much attention. I'm pretty sure I checked it out of the library in January when it came out and finally read it in the final days of 2013 (I know, I am a library book hoarder.) I was instantly entranced with this novel. Hildy is a dynamic narrator. I'm tempted to call her an unreliable narrator, but I'm not convinced that's completely accurate. Hildy's unreliability comes in two forms: first, she is not always forthcoming with the reader. She doesn't necessarily lie, but she carefully chooses how to share and when. In reality, this behavior is what we all do. We don't lead with the faults others find with us that we don't quite believe, yet when Hildy first acknowledge such a trait, my first thought was suspicion.The second trait of unreliability has as much to do with Hildy's honesty with herself as it does with her honesty with the reader. While linked with the first, it becomes indicative of so much more. In a pinch, I would probably call Hildy unreliable, but it's this very trait, and Leary's unconventional use of it, that makes Hildy so fascinating to read about. As much as I enjoyed seeing other characters, Hildy stole this book for me. The verdict: The Good House captivated me as I read. Hildy was a fascinating character, and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, or at least as much as she would show. As much as this novel is Hildy's story, Leary smartly builds up the town and its motley crew of characters to be just as dynamic.Rating: 4 out of 5
  • (4/5)
    “A layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.”—J. Courtney Sullivan
  • (4/5)
    This was a book about a woman named Hildy. She was a real estate agent. She loved her drink. Then one day her two daughters set up an intervention with her and sent her to Rehab. This book was heart breaking at times. I had a brother who struggled with alcohol. The way they portrayed Hildy and the way her mind worked was so realistic.I had a couple of quotes I liked in the book, but my favorite was: "You can't remove a persons denial from them. Denial is like a blanket surrounding a person who's well, almost naked underneath. You just can't pull it off them. You just can't expose them to the cold and all that shame. A person can only remove it for herself when she's ready."
  • (4/5)
    Great book by Ann Leary, Dennis Leary's wife.
  • (3/5)
    I had no idea if Hildy was an alcoholic or not. She was so much in denial and kept saying it was nothing. And that is the thing, I the reader knows nothing, but little by little we learn more about Hildy. So is she an alcoholic? You will find out.

    The book was not just told about her day after day. There were lots of little episodes where she told about houses she had sold. But it all came together as you later will see. And that was her life, selling houses, and being a bit lonely. Her husband has left, her children live elsewhere and Hildy, ah yes Hildy. I liked her, but the more I got to know her, less I wanted to like her.

    There is also a bit of drama later in the book, I am not going into details. But something happens as she just goes on with life.

    It was well done, I really was in her head, believing what she believed and it also made me realise how alcohol can different to everyone. Every alcoholic is not the same.

    A good, quiet book in a way
  • (4/5)
    With a small-town, New England, setting and an author with the ability to write settings like Ms. Leary, I felt as though I was right there with the protagonist, Hildy. Hildy refused to believe she is an alcoholic and, after a stint in rehab, continues to drink wine then slowly progresses to other alcohol again. This novel grabbed me at the start. I was routing for her to be sober and to overcome the obstacles in her life. She was an interesting woman, a successful realtor, a mother and grandmother, and the ex-wife of a gay man.Ms. Leary comes up with very strong characters who are well-developed and make you feel as though you know them. I like Ms. Leary's writing style and enjoyed this novel. I hope to read more books by her.
  • (5/5)
    With more than ten started but yet to finish books on my nightstand, it felt great to pick this up and read it in one day. I was put off somewhat by the description on the back but was sucked into this novel after just the first page. Hildy Good is a very flawed person, (like anyone alive tends to be), and that is what makes her so compelling. You want to believe her even when she is lying to herself.
  • (4/5)
    Takes place in a New England town. A "townie" who is a descendant of Sarah Good learns to navigate through relationships and possibly a few glasses of wine again after returning from rehab for her drinking. Funny, well paced and great characters.
  • (4/5)
    "My first name is Hilda, which my children have always told me sounds like a witch's name, but I'm called Hildy. I live alone; my daughters are grown up and my husband is no longer my husband. I talk to animals..some people think I have powers of intuition, psychic powers, which I don't. I just know a few tricks...I tend to know everyone's business...[and] I'm the top real-estate agent in a town whose main industries are antiques and real estate." p5This is how our narrator, fifty nine year old Hildy Good, introduces herself in The Good House. She seems like an ordinary woman, a lifelong resident of Wendover, Massachusetts, sipping a club soda with lime at a housewarming party, chatting cheerfully with other guests. She mentions in passing she is in "recovery", and has recently returned from rehab after an intervention staged by her daughters, an over-reaction on their part she assures us. A few hours later Hildy is at home, finishing a bottle of wine from the stash she hides in the garage, before stripping off to skinny dip in the icy cold river at the bottom of her garden, laughing under the moonlight.Related in the first person by Hildy, The Good House is a character driven novel, a story of small towns, family, love, deception and denial. It reveals tensions and prejudices, infidelity, elitism, and dysfunction but focuses on Hildy's alcoholism and its effects on herself and others.While we are inclined to trust Hildy's observations about herself and others initially, we soon learn that she is an entirely unreliable narrator. In order to deny the truth of her alcohol addiction, Hildy's perspective on her family, friends and the community is slightly warped. She claims her daughters are ungrateful, prone to exaggerating the effects of her drinking, she fails to recognise the instability of newcomer Rebecca, too relieved to find someone she can drink with who won't pass judgement, and imagines the concern of her lifelong friend, psychiatrist Peter Newbold, to be for sinister reasons of his own. Few will find Hildy a wholly likeable character, but I thought Leary portrayed her in a compassionate manner. Hildy is a supportive mother, a doting grandmother, and an intelligent, successful woman but her addiction is all consuming and everything she is, is tainted by alcohol. As Hildy continues to drinking heavily she begins to suffer blackouts and hallucinations but is convinced she is still in control, her secret safe, until the coincidence of a damaged fender and a missing child shatters her illusions.There is little action in the novel, with the suspense largely stemming from Hildy's gradual slide to 'rock bottom', still I found the narrative compelling. Leary's depiction of alcoholism is subtle rather than sensational, foregoing high drama for a realistic exploration of what addiction looks like amongst a demographic ignored by the media. The supporting characters and some of the minor subplots orbit around Hildy, never really having a life of their own, but add interest to the story.The Good House is an interesting, poignant and surprisingly witty portrayal of a woman's struggle with alcohol addiction and I found it both engaging and entertaining.FYI, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro have signed to star in the screen adaption, and I will be eager to see the film when it is released.
  • (5/5)
    Ann Leary's The Good House is an entertaining, emotionally compelling novel that I would also count as a work of literary art of considerable depth and sophistication -- and what's more, unique social significance. I would recommend this novel widely without reservation, with an exception being any reader who wishes to avoid a fictional treatment of the reality of addiction for personal reasons of any kind (the narrator/protagonist's struggles with alcohol abuse are central to the novel's plot and meaning, as I read it).

    That said, I would encourage readers who are not totally comfortable with the prospect of an intimate, insider's look at the reality of addiction to try engaging with this work. I believe exposure to a three-dimensional, often likable and engaging character who struggles with self-control of her alcohol use and related behavior is a critically valuable experience this novel is uniquely equipped to provide. This novel's treatment of addiction is anything but simple and explicitly conclusive, and Leary's rendering of the troubled heroine is profoundly humane and, I think, not without affection. In sum, I think this novel offers an excellent illustration of addiction as a problem people (rather than "addicts" or some other explicitly "other" category of person) struggle with despite and because of themselves...and for neither of those causes and both. An understanding of addiction of this kind can make one a better human being better equipped to help in real-life struggles faced by others. That's what my experience in life has shown anyway.

    I loved this novel -- poignant, refreshing and yes, often funny.

    BTW, I received a free copy of this book through a giveaway contest on Goodreads.
  • (4/5)
    “A layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.”—J. Courtney Sullivan
  • (4/5)
    I had read a blurb about this book but had not gotten around to really looking into reading it yet. While at the library I saw it on the shelf so I picked it up to listen to while sewing. I had forgotten what the premise of the book was so it was interesting to start listening to the story unfold without really knowing what the story is really about.It turns out this book deals with some serious issues like alcoholism, children with disabilities and effects of dysfunction in families, but it is also very witty and funny at times.I live in a small town where most of our business professionals are long time residents and everyone knows everyone’s personal business so I could relate so so much of this book.Hildy is a hoot and the narrator really made her come to life, and she has had quite the life! I was not expecting the twist at the end so I had to keep sewing just so I could finish the book!Since I listened to it in 2 days instead of reading it I have to say for me it was a different book than I have been reading, there are several characters to add interesting story lines and again I really enjoyed the life the narrator gave to Hildy so these things made for a very enjoyable experience. It left me with a smile so I gave it 4 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I had "Harold Fry" as my best book of 2013 but oops, The Good House overtakes it. Maybe because I listened to it and the reader was *gasp* Mary Beth Hurt, completely stunning performance. But more likely due to most excellent plot, remarkable characters, pacing, insights, and the way Ann Leary kept me guessing: Marblehead? Swampscott? Magnolia? Essex? Ipswich? Manchester-by-the-Sea? Of course it doesn't matter but Hildy Good matters. SHE REALLY MATTERS. And it really matters to me that you read or listen to this book.
  • (4/5)
    Hildy Good is a handful - full of sassy gossip, backtalk, and raw honesty. The author, Ann Leary, describes a part of Massachusetts that felt familiar to me because of my own background. Loved the Yankee wisdom, family history containing a persecuted witch, alcoholism (recovery, denial, recovery), and seacoast setting.
  • (4/5)

    I love any book that can keep me feeling like I am actually there, while thrilling/scaring me and keeping me guessing! I found The Good House to be an exceptionally well written and suspenseful novel. The author did an excellent job of developing the story and the characters.

    I was given this book by GoodReads.
  • (4/5)
    Fast-paced, engaging book about an alcoholic in denial. Very well-drawn. I rooted for Hildy as she, and several main characters who have grown up together in a small coastal town, struggle with internal demons and addictions.