I’ve needed to read a book like A Good American by Alex George for awhile now. I’ve needed to escape with characters, to care and feel for them as though they were my own. I’ve needed to read good writing, the kind of writing that makes you re-read a sentence just for the pure joy of watching how the words mesh together in just the right way. I’ve needed to call my grandmother on the phone and say, “Oh grandma, do I ever have a book for you.”
It shouldn’t surprise you then that I obviously loved the book — and recommend it as a Must Read. I haven’t read a book for review that left me feeling this strongly in over a year. It’s a good feeling.
The book follows Jette and Frederick as they come to America. We follow them as they end up in a mostly German town in Missouri, quite by accident, and begin their life — and their family — in the United States. The book follows down the generational line as we see changes to the country, to their family, to the town, to their way of life — repeatedly. Heartbreak, intrigue, sadness, laughter, murder, loss, more laughter, and on and on. The book is real in a way that you don’t quite expect. Every chapter ends with enough intrigue, which meant a lot of late night reading for me. “Oh, well I can’t stop now! I have to read one more chapter.” Needless to say, I had a lot of late nights and tired mornings while reading this book.
Quite honestly, I was sad when the book ended. I thought perhaps that the author could have left us with a cliffhanger, instead of finishing off some unanswered questions to wrap everything up neatly, and written a sequel. I am left wanting more, wanting to know what comes of certain storylines that, perhaps, have room for more attention. I am left wanting to know more about grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I want more answers, more questions, more perfectly constructed sentences that take my breath away. When a book leaves you wanting that, wanting more of exactly what you just read, it’s a good book.
And if I put a book down, even before I’ve finished it, to call my grandmother and tell her that she absolutely has to read it when I’m done, well, it’s a keeper. If you think I’m judgmental about writing, you haven’t met my grandma. Perhaps she needs her own book blog. All the same, I know she’ll love it — maybe even more than I do.
I will offer up a warning: There’s talk of miscarriage and adoption in the book, though neither overtly saddened or annoyed me.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.