Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Good House by Ann Leary

I recall a quote from some aging celeb that went something along the lines of, “When you’re 30 you need good looks, at 40 you need money, and at 50+ you need a sense of humor.” Hildy Good, the narrator and main character of The Good House, a 60-something, successful realtor in a fictionalized New England coastal village, has a wicked and endearing sense of humor. She’s also a descendant of the “Salem witches” and although her friends have pegged her as a psychic, she’s really just an intuitive person with keen powers of observation and a storehouse of accumulated knowledge. The Good House has a number of plot lines and characters in its orbit, including Hildy’s likable and unlikely antediluvian paramour, local garbage man Frank Getchell, and stories of friendship, infidelity, treachery and intrigue. But this book is really about one thing, Hildy’s alcoholism.

The reason Hildy’s struggle with alcoholism feels so true is because it is. Author Leary (pictured) is a recovering alcoholic (and fyi – she’s comedian/actor Denis Leary’s wife). Hildy’s daughters intervene and although she goes into recovery, Hildy convinces herself (and nearly us) that there’s no harm in a glass of wine. “Really, Thanksgiving is a lot to ask of a sober person.” she tells us, along with more creative rationalizations, like, she’s a nicer person when she’s drinking.

I listed to the audio version of The Good House and thoroughly enjoyed Mary Beth Hurt's reading. Macmillan Audio provided an audio clip, which I believe you will enjoy. Click on Read More below to listen to that excerpt.

So go ahead and read (or listen to) The Good House because you’ll like Hildy; she’ll make you laugh, and the New England setting is pretty interesting. Oh, and you’ll be one up on the soon-to-be-released movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro.

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