Book Review: A Good American
At it’s root BlogHer’s latest book selection, A Good American, tells the tale of three generations of the Meisenheimer family. The story unfolds as a love affair between two Germans, (Frederick and Jette), who leave their home country in search of America. After crossing the Atlantic they ultimately land in a small town in Missouri where they settle down and start a family.
The 400+ page story details the day to day lives of Frederick and Jette and two generations that follow them. I swayed back and forth between really enjoying this book and feeling bored by it. Although the book tells the tale of three generations of the Meisenheimer family, it felt a bit disjointed to me.
In the first section of the book the reader learns of the love between Jette and Frederick, their need to leave their home country and the trials and tribulations they face as they try to settle in America. I really enjoyed this part of the book. The author steps you through Jette’s emotional turmoil. She delivers a child in America and immediately regrets leaving home without saying goodbye to her own family. Frederick on the other hand loves America and everything about it. He immediately embraces the language and the culture. He strives to own a home and a business which is after all the American way.
There are interesting dynamics between the main characters, including Lomax, an African American man, who reenters Jette’s life mid-way throughout the novel. He has an interesting role in the book and his interactions with both Joseph and Rosa (Jette’s son and daughter) were very touching.
The second part of the book was less enjoyable for me. As Jette and Joseph age the book focuses more on Joseph’s children. Although the reader continues to unfold the daily lives of this third generation of German immigrants the story became less interesting to me. The characters weren’t as memorable and their interactions with each other weren’t narrated with the same zest as the first two generations.
As the novel concludes the author, Alex George, does a nice job of tying a neat little bow around the Meisenheimer family. George throws a curve ball in at the end that I honestly wasn’t expecting. Still I would’ve liked this book to end sooner than it did. I don’t think the second half of the book captured my interest nearly as much as the first half.
Note: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.
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