Ann Leary's The Good House is an exceptional read. The first-person account of life in a small Boston town on it's North Shore, had me hooked from the beginning. Hildy Good is a (once) successful real estate agent, divorced grandmother who is a true towner with baggage to spare. She's lived in the small New England town her whole life and knows the towns people like no one else. Often times Hildy is witty, insightful, and a delight. The darker moments are when we know she has a problem but she doesn't.
After doing thirty days in rehab, Hildy is back on the market trying to sell the market. She's also trying to cover up the fact that she is an alcholic that REALLY really needs to stop. Ann Leary entices the readers to care about Hildy even when she's making decisions that make us want to shake her and tell her "stop!". These moments are then overshadowed by Hildy's charm and ultimately the facade she puts up as her armor. The lighter moments are why we care about Hildy and want her to succeed. Like in her dreams of being in a kitchen, she's looking for something to fill her voids with. She then loses her control and sobriety. Her feelings of grandiose do nothing to keep her in recovery but rather hinder her ability to face her own truth.
All the characters in this novel are very well developed which is often hard to do with a first-person narrative but Ann Leary does so with ease. The integration of well developed secondary characters brings to the surface other issues such as fidelity, family units, gossip, tragedy, and love. They all help us understand that our narrator is flawed and damaged and really should get help. Hildy boasts about being able to tell you everything about someone by looking into their homes. She almost refuses to look into her own home and see what's wrong with her.
Overall, this novel is very fun to read. It's very important subject of alcoholism is delivered in a very light way so as not to make this read depressing which I actually liked. The climax is also something I never saw coming and I truly kicked up the reading a notch to findout what the outcome will be. I recommend this read to anyone who's a fan of good women's literature. I look forward to reading the other Ann Leary novels I haven't had the pleasure of reading.