Book Review: A Good American

I am always reading something. Commuting via Metro gives me lots of time to sit and read, it’s probably the only reason I can tolerate sitting on a crowded train every morning! I don’t always blog about what I’m reading – but I’m always thrilled when BlogHer sends me a book to review. I recently received a copy of A Good American by Alex George and couldn’t put it down.

A Good American by Alex GeorgeFrom the inside cover: Everything he’d seen had been unimaginably different from the dry, dour streets of Hanover, and to his surprise he was not sorry in the slightest. He was smitten by the beguiling otherness of it all. And so began my grandfather’s rapturous love affair with America – an affair that would continue until the day he died.

A Good American is the story of three generations of the Meisenheimer family, as told by James – a member of the third generation. ┬áJames’ great-grandfather Frederick and great-grandmother Jette left Germany in the early 1900′s and settled in the small farming town of Beatrice, Missouri. They were on the way to St. Louis, but things are never really easy for the Meisenheimer family and their plans had to come to an abrupt change when Jette went into labor on the way.

Frederick immediately falls in love with his new country even though it’s harder for Jette. As the family grows through the generations, the family becomes more attached to Beatrice and the town plays a huge role in how their family is shaped. Alex George writes a very compelling cast of characters for the Meisenheimer family and the townsfolk of Beatrice. Their stories wrap together seamlessly and each one draws you into the story a little more.

I love that the story is narrated through several generations. As time goes on, the reader really gets to understand the character’s motivations, though George is still able to skillfully weave in plenty of surprising plot twists. As I mentioned earlier, life is tough for the Meisenheimer family, a near constant roller coaster. Even when things appear to be going well there’s usually some form of tragedy waiting to strike. I found myself cautiously routing for them – wanting them to have everything they hoped and dreamed and worked for – but knowing that there was a good chance the other shoe was about to drop. It was an emotional but captivating read.

I really loved this book. I thought the narration was unique, the characters were well developed and the story was compelling. I completely recommend it, I didn’t want to put it down the whole time I was reading it.

Disclosure: BlogHer send me a complimentary copy of The Good American and I am being compensated for this review. The BlogHer Book Club is currently sponsored and supplied by Penguin Group USA and its subsidiaries. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not influenced by BlogHer, Penguin, or any third party.

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