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
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
I'll admit that I initially downloaded The Good House from Audible because I liked the cover and was semi-desperate for something new/possibly good to listen to, but found out that it is really a worthwhile read. Hildy Good, a 60-year-old realtor and lifelong resident of Wendover, Massachusetts, is a recovering (or not) alcoholic (or not) who narrates her story, along with the changing climate of Wendover and its inhabitants, old and new.
Hildy has recently returned from rehab, explaining to the reader that she is not really an alcoholic, it was simply due to the intervention (or "inquisition") by her mildly annoying and interfering daughters. She befriends wealthy newcomer Rebecca McAllister and they share some interesting secrets that really complicate Hildy's life. Through Hildy's eyes, we meet local psychiatrist Peter Newbold, local garbageman Frankie Getchell, and local electrician Patch Dwight, his wife Cassie, and their special needs child, Jake. Hildy excels at making acerbic, insightful, and very funny observations about her neighbors, but may not be quite as skilled at self-evaluation.
The excellent narration by Mary Beth Hurt (she is Hildy!) makes this one of those books that may be even better in audio than paper. Smart, witty, entertaining, and it made me think, all add up to a really good read.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
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!
I very much enjoyed this story. What an interesting portrayal of a functioning alcoholic.
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.
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.
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!
Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.
Hildy, the main character, is 60 and quite the alcoholic. I loved her and I hated her, but i never stopped enjoying the book. The story is told in first person which makes it perfect for an audiobook. I agree with an earlier reviewer that Mary Beth Hurt IS Hildy. I can't wait to recommend this book to my friends.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
Yes, I definitely would listen to this again.
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.
I completely enjoyed this fabulous study in character. A real treat.
So...you're telling me I can pay people to read books to me whilst I do other things?
I'm kind of on an audible review rampage right now--going back into my library pulling out my recent favorites, and this is definitely one of them.
Not sure which is more brilliant--Ann Leary's writing or Mary Beth Hurt's narration, but I'm pretty sure it's a magical combination of both...
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.
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