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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

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4.2 (1367 )
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  •  
    Bonny Flemington, NJ, United States 03-07-13
    Bonny Flemington, NJ, United States 03-07-13 Member Since 2009

    Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Smart & funny, even when Hildy's not drinking!"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 03-11-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 03-11-13 Member Since 2005

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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!

    14 of 17 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 Switzerland 11-09-13
    Margaret Switzerland 11-09-13 Member Since 2010
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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
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 07-11-13
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 07-11-13 Member Since 2008
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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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 06-07-13
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 06-07-13 Member Since 2007

    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.

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    "Loved the book and narrator"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 05-19-13
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 05-19-13 Member Since 2009

    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
  •  
    Sand Tampa, FL, United States 04-03-13
    Sand Tampa, FL, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2006

    So...you're telling me I can pay people to read books to me whilst I do other things?

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    "Pure Pleasure"

    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...

    2 of 2 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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