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The Good House: A Novel | [Ann Leary]

The Good House: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2014

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.

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 60-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.

©2012 Ann Leary (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1670 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 07-11-13
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well Done"

    It was so intriguing listening to alcoholic Hildy's story which all seems so reasonable, then hearing what actually happened from the non-inebreated supporting cast of this novel. Leary does an excellent job drawing the character of Hildy and letting us love her while still seeing her bumps and bruises. Well done!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha New York, NY, United States 01-30-13
    Samantha New York, NY, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Fantastic audiobook!"
    Any additional comments?

    Mary Beth Hurt perfectly matched the voice I imagined for Hildy Good. I didn't want The Good House to end!

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 03-11-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 03-11-13 Member Since 2013

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Hildy Wants MORE!"

    Hildy's grandson's first word was MORE. This is the moral of the story....we all want MORE.
    Hildy wants MORE, more alcohol, more money and prestige, and more love. Each of the other characters is lacking something in their lives which brings them to Hildy and in turn, she basks in their strife.
    In letting Hildy's story unfold Ms. Leary expertly illustrates the denial of an addict. But it is not just Hildy who is an addict, it is also Rebecca; she is addicted to attention and romance.
    Then of course with all of this wanting MORE, comes great loss.
    The messy emotions and feelings and thoughts of these characters come to life with Ms. Hurt so wonderfully narrating.
    I loved this book and I can't imagine anyone not becoming completely engaged with this story. YES 5 stars!

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. maurer midwest 05-29-14
    K. maurer midwest 05-29-14 Member Since 2013

    Dane Girl

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    "Very good performance and story"
    Any additional comments?

    I very much enjoyed this story. What an interesting portrayal of a functioning alcoholic.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly Charleston, SC, United States 01-05-14
    Molly Charleston, SC, United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Another marathon Listen!"

    I loved this story and was hooked from the start. I wish I had slowed down and savored it because it was over way too fast.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 11-09-13
    Margaret 11-09-13
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    "So true to life, nearly painful"

    This tightly novel leaves one off-guard: is the main character developing or deteriorating? The characters are so true to life, they could be one's own family. At first, I was put off by Mary Beth Hurt's narration, with sometimes odd and inappropriate inflection. Turns out, that was part of the character development (or deterioration). By the end, it's hard to imagine Hildy's voice as anyone's but Ms. Hurt's. She excels with the other characters' voices, too.I ran extra errands today in order to have the excuse to find out how this unpredictable plot wrapped up. An involving and often quite amusing listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 07-05-13
    Amber 07-05-13 Member Since 2015

    I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cheers to Hildy Good"

    This book is about Hildy Good. She's a 60-something mother, grandma and divorcee. Her daughters stage an intervention because they think she is an alcoholic, although Hildy doesn't see it that way, but she goes to rehab anyway. The book starts after she has finished rehab. This book is about Hildy's "secret" relationship with alcohol and with her friends and family. It is also about the residents of her small New England town, Wendover. She has lived there all her life and has an intimate knowledge about the town itself and what goes on there. I thought Hildy was a riot… I liked how she was brutally honest with the reader/listener even though she mostly put on a facade for friends and family. Her brutal honesty had me laughing out loud several times. Hildy's interaction and past with Frank Getchell, long time friend and town's garbage man were some of my favorite parts of the book. There were many different emotions within this book, ranging from laugh-out-loud funny to soberingly sad moments. The narration was superb. Mary Beth Hurt was Hildy. She doesn't have a beautiful voice, I even cringed a bit when she sang, but I loved it anyway. I guess you can say that Hurt's voice is memorable and charming when it comes to playing Hildy Good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 05-19-13
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 05-19-13 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

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    "Bottoms up!"
    Would you listen to The Good House again? Why?

    Yes, I definitely would listen to this again.


    What does Mary Beth Hurt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mary Beth Hurt had the absolutely perfect voice for Hildy Good. She had the edge and sarcasm down pat. She helped the reader see how Hildy had deluded herself into thinking that her drinking was just a normal and understandable thing.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Bottoms Up


    Any additional comments?

    I completely enjoyed this fabulous study in character. A real treat.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 05-16-13
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 05-16-13 Member Since 2006

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent character analysis"

    I have never lived with an alcoholic so for me this was an eye-opening account of the behavior and self-delusion that goes with this disease. I enjoyed the narration, it was totally realistic and brought the character to life. I would definately recommend it as an interesting analysis of people, what goes on behind closed doors and how you can never judge a person's life and happiness from what you see in their public persona!

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 03-25-13
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "More like this!"

    Very easy listening! Vignettes of life in a small New England town with believable characters and fantastic narration.

    There's no major suspense here, and the cast of characters is small, which is why it makes for such a perfect listen. It's easy to get absorbed into without having to rewind to try to figure out who this person is or what happened in a flashback etc. Mary Beth Hurt is wonderful, but she may annoy some listeners-- listen to the sample before you buy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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