Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Good House by Ann Leary (audio)


The Good House
by Ann Leary
narrated by Mary Beth Hurt
Macmillan Audio, 2013
10 hours and 12 minutes
source: borrowed from the library

Summary (from goodreads):

Ann Leary's 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 sixty-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.

Brief thoughts:
There is so much I loved about The Good House, it's hard to know where to begin. But I'll try...

  • the main character:  Hildy Good is a 60-ish, alcoholic real estate agent who knows everybody and everything in town. She is both believable and heart-breaking in her justification for "just one little sip" of wine.
  • the setting:  Hildy's small town on Boston's North Shore is eerily similar to my little village in central New York... waterfront properties, horse farms, even the shenanigans are the same.
  • the plot:  In The Good House,  I recognized my town, my friends, my neighbors, our joys, fears, and our interconnected lives.

A note on the audio production:
When I first heard Hildy speak I wasn't so sure, but it took just moments to realize that Mary Beth Hurt was Hildy Good. I just don't know how else to say it. This story is told in the first person, and I can't even imagine another voice for Hildy. The Good House  is easily one of my favorite audiobooks of the year, and quite possibly one of my favorite narrations ever.

My rating:



Bottom line:
The Good House  will surely be a 2013 audio favorite... and I can't wait for the upcoming movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro.

26 comments:

  1. Wow! This is the kind of book that wouldn't seem my thing, but also the kind of book that could draw me in regardless. I feel the same way, btw, about the narrator who does the Flavia de Luce books... her voice is perfect for the role.

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    1. Audrey - I've been on the fence with the Flavia de Luce books, but may give the audios a try. Thanks!

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  2. I'm the one person who wasn't crazy about Hurt's narration. I still enjoyed the book, though.

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    1. Kathy - The voice was definitely jarring at first, but I quickly attached it to Hildy's persona and loved it!

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  3. Oh I loved this book! Loved Hurt...you are right, she WAS Hildy. She made me laugh out loud more than once. Did you know they are going to make a movie of this book? Starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro. Perfect right?

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    1. Sandy - Just love the casting for the upcoming movie... can't wait!!

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  4. I really enjoyed this as well, but had the print edition. It would make a fun movie with Steep and DeNiro

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    1. Diane - I think Streep and DeNiro will be perfect!!

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  5. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds so good!

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  6. I loved this book, too, and can't wait for the movie. I don't do audio, but this one might be a good one to try. Sometimes I think I'd enjoy "hearing" the voices. Thanks for your review!

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I'm pretty sure I would have loved this book just as much in print, but the audio really adds another dimension. Wish they would announce a release date for the movie!

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  7. This sounds great -- I absolutely love Mary Beth Hurt's voice. I'm putting this one on the TBR!

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    1. Col - Mary Beth Hurt was absolutely perfect! With the first person narration, she became Hildy.

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  8. I really want to read/hear this one! Someone else had raved a few months back, but for some reason it slipped my mind to pursue it. I don't do audio, but I'm sure reading the book would also be an enjoyable experience. Thanks.

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    1. Rita - I'm sure The Good House is just as wonderful in print. I hope you get a chance to read it!

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  9. With your 5 star rating and Meryl Streep and R. DeNiro, I'm sure it's going to be a winning combination. Thanks for the heads-up. I didn't know about this one. ;)

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    1. Arti - This is definitely one you'll want to read before seeing the movie!

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  10. I've had this on my list for a while. I need to get to the audiobook. I bet it would be a great choice for me.

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    1. Beth F - My guess is that you'll love this one!

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  11. Thanks for your thoughts. I've been interested in reading this book, but haven't yet. I didn't know there was going to be a movie! I think that will be a good one to see.

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    1. Pat - So do I... with Streep, DeNiro, and such a great story, it's got to be a winner!

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  12. I really need to get this one read before the movie!

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  13. I've heard about the narration so many times it must be true :)
    I didn't even realize it was going to be a movie!

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    1. Stacy - Yes, all the buzz about this narration is true... and I can't imagine the movie being any less than wonderful with Streep and DeNiro!

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