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A Good American | [Alex George]

A Good American

It is 1904. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead ("What's the difference? They're both new."), and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.
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Publisher's Summary

An uplifting novel about the families we create and the places we call home.

It is 1904. When Frederick and Jette must flee her disapproving mother, where better to go than America, the land of the new? Originally set to board a boat to New York, at the last minute, they take one destined for New Orleans instead ("What's the difference? They're both new.") and later find themselves, more by chance than by design, in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri. Not speaking a word of English, they embark on their new life together.

Beatrice is populated with unforgettable characters: a jazz trumpeter from the Big Easy who cooks a mean gumbo, a teenage boy trapped in the body of a giant, a pretty schoolteacher who helps the young men in town learn about a lot more than just music, a minister who believes he has witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, and a malevolent, bicycle-riding dwarf.

A Good American is narrated by Frederick and Jette's grandson, James, who, in telling his ancestors' story, comes to realize he doesn't know his own story at all. From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies, the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, James's family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American. And, in the process, Frederick and Jette's progeny sometimes discover more about themselves than they had bargained for.

Poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, A Good American is a novel about being an outsider - in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes even in your own family. It is a universal story about our search for home.

©2012 Alex George (P)2012 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (60 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
 (26)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (50 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (51 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Pennsylvania 03-18-13
    Amazon Customer Pennsylvania 03-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I liked the idea but..."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Good American to be better than the print version?

    Probably


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect was the immigration; the insurmountable hurdles these folks had to go through yet did so with all their hearts and souls. They appreciated America more than their offspring ever could.


    What does Gibson Frazier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's a good narrator and made the accents believable giving it the authenticity of immigration.


    If you could take any character from A Good American out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would like to take the original immigrants, Frederick and Jette, to dinner. It would be an amazing experience to discuss the strength it took to board a ship going to a new country with no prospects for employment, housing or medical... And Jette was nearly full term in a pregnancy that led to all the events of the book. Terrifying what immigrants went through back then.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the early part of the book but less so with each subsequent generation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 06-04-12
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    841
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4902
    132
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    236
    117
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Deeeeelightful!"

    Alex George artfully crafts a delightful story of generations of an immigrant family, richly colored with well drawn characters and events. Through triumph and tragedy, the story weaves itself into American fabric. Wonderfully written and narrated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April Kniess 04-04-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    Wonderfully told of a family who venture
    To a new country and experienced love, sadness, regrets and joy. I enjoyed how
    The family secrets finally emerged with
    great surprises.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay broken arrow, OK, United States 12-16-14
    Kay broken arrow, OK, United States 12-16-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    95
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice story & listen"
    Where does A Good American rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very enjoyable listen. It is a good story and the narration was well done.


    Who was the most memorable character of A Good American and why?

    Actually I enjoyed James the narrator the most. His insight and personal reflections about his family and their varied lives was realistic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Austin, TX, United States 03-03-13
    Tracy Austin, TX, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing story"
    Where does A Good American rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of my favorites of all the audio books I've listened to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Good American?

    Any part that Lomax was in.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration is amazing for this story. I hope he'll do more in the future. He really brought the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia D. Nichol Agoura Hills, CA United States 10-01-12
    Claudia D. Nichol Agoura Hills, CA United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2012

    CNichol

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Live takes a turn"
    Where does A Good American rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    1


    What did you like best about this story?

    The follow-through of the characters with great descriptions.


    What about Gibson Frazier’s performance did you like?

    Good flow and voice inflection.


    If you could rename A Good American, what would you call it?

    Secret Mother


    Any additional comments?

    Well written book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 06-11-12
    Sheri CHARLOTTE, NC, United States 06-11-12 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing book!!"
    What did you love best about A Good American?

    The story is elegant and well written. I found myself carrying my phone around to listen to it all the time. The writing is beautiful. I'm heartbroken that I only have 20 minutes left.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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