Dynamic Woman — Changing Times
Book Review: A Good American
There seems to be a rise in books written about the greatest generation and their immigrant forbears. That generation is passing quickly. If someone doesn’t write their stories, then we lose a unique perspective on history. Alex George captures that perspective in his novel, A Good American.
Previous generations of Europeans came to America to start a new life with hope in their hearts. They were willing to sacrifice and work hard, and they appreciated the opportunity before them. In this novel, Jette and Frederick characterize our scrappy ancestors who cherished independence. Like many immigrants, they laid a foundation of economic prosperity for generations to come. Call it the American Dream, or the work ethic, George defines the time period well.
Well developed characters
I particularly liked the dynamics between the four brothers who dominate the middle section of the book. George spins a good story around the feisty twins and older brothers who pave the way. But like many early-career novelists, his pacing lags mid-section. The character who narrates the story spends way too much time mooning over lost love. I wanted to slap him. And the treatment of the dwarf was problematic. Certainly, the incident that led to his demise was vivid and a pivotal moment, but the want of compassion bothered me. Realistic? Probably so. But I thought the author tossed off the little man’s anguish too lightly.
In contrast, the characterization of Lomax was richly nuanced. He embodied the racial issues of the time in all their heartbreaking complexity.
In its best moments, and there are many, A Good American is a compelling read.
© Sydney Avey