In the High Peaks

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Good House by Ann Leary

I didn't realize how badly I needed a pleasure read until I dipped into The Good House by Ann Leary. It was released on January 15th, and I had pre-ordered it, so that when I woke up on Wednesday morning, there it was, all ready and waiting.

Its genre is "Women's Fiction."
I find I cringe and shudder at the name of the category, not the book. Sorry, I can't help it. It's a category that is so maligned, a category heading that is so misused, I can't help but protest. It so happens, not necessarily by design, that I don't often read books that suffer from such labeling, I don't have a grudge against a novel that's labeled "women's fiction." Women buy more novels than men. They read many more novels than men. And this has been going on since the 1820s. I don't want to get all political about it, but is there a "men's fiction" genre? No, because most of the fiction men read, women do as well.

Back to The Good House. I'm loving it. I wish it wouldn't come to an end. I have 90 pages to go in this 259-page book, and I'm already in mourning. Perhaps I'm identifying with the 60-year-old protagonist a bit too much. It helps if you can identify with a character who sometimes drinks a little bit too much and the fact that her daughters have hounded her for it. But this is not the primary theme. It's about fulfilling work, finagling relationships with one's children and one's ex, carving out a place for love in the present, and learning, always learning about relationships. I like the coastal North Shore of  Boston setting. Maybe its main appeal for me is I needed a fun read about a woman my age who's still discovering and exploring what's next and not letting others dictate for her what that should be. Aahh! I've finally hit on it! May we all be free to define ourselves as we wish until the day... well, you get the idea. Well-written, excellent pacing, well-plotted. Thank you, Ann Leary!


  1. This sounds very good. I enjoy this type of book and like you, I shudder when I hear them called "Women's Fiction".
    I feel we need strong and interesting heroines of every age.

    1. Hi, Caroline--
      Now that I'm near the end, I'm scratching my head from ear to ear. Has Hildy been an unreliable narrator during the last half of the book? (I don't know for sure yet.) If so, I will feel cheated and a bit angry at the author. Hmmm.. I must rush to finish and post an entry with my thoughts.


  2. I like the idea of the genre "Women's Fiction", but a lot of thimes the books are compiled so random it's hard to know. I agree with Caroline, I am into the true "heroine" types, or the characters that have some substance. I am currently reading one that has pleasantly suprised be my Barbara Hinske. Coming to Rosemont. This character is very strong as she struggles with life's tragedies. I would reccomend it for sure, if you want to take a look. These are the kinds of books I hope to find while trudging through the "Women's Fiction" genre!