I can’t help it. I am a multi-tasker. It is a curse. I have a difficult time doing one thing at a time. The invention of the play away was designed just for people like me. It makes it possible to “read” a book while doing necessary everyday tasks, and sometimes with a good audio book, like The Good House, I find myself looking for things to do around the house just so I have an excuse to keep “reading”.
Hildy Good is a successful small town realtor. In fact she is one of the most successful business woman in Wendover, Massachusetts, a town she has lived in her entire life. Hildy knows how to read people. “Alcoholics, hoarders, binge eaters……”. One look at their house tells her all she needs to know. “I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist after a year of sessions”, she boasts.
Unfortunately, Hildy is also an alcoholic. So she likes a drink once in a while? She never drinks before 5 and most nights only has a few glasses of wine. In fact, she actually drives better when she is drunk and as for that DWI, she barely tapped the car. So she had misjudged the distance? Could happen to anyone. Yes, Hildy has an answer for everything. She is clearly in denial. Even after an intervention (an inquisition according to Hildy) orchestrated by her daughters and a 28 day program in Minnesota, Hildy reverts back to her old habits. Afterall, “Is a blackout really a blackout if no one is there to see it?”
Hildy Good is an “old Townie” and knows all of the colorful residents of Wendover, There is Rebecca McAllister, the young pretty girl married to one of the riches men in new England. It was Hildy that sold the McAllister’s their multi million dollar house. Hildy could tell that Rebecca was depressed just by the type of flowers she planted in front of the house. Peter Newbold, the local shrink has an office right above Hildy’s and she has known him from the time he was a little boy, and Frank Getchell, a local contractor and Hildy go way back. They have a history. Everyone in town has secrets and Hildy is good at keeping them, but how long can she keep her drinking a secret and her life from unraveling?
The Good House is more than just a quick, entertaining novel. It also is an insightful look into the world of an alcoholic, written by someone who knows what they are talking about. The author, Ann Leary is a recovering alcoholic.
“The challenge for me as the writer was to write a book, in the first person, from the point of view of an alcoholic in complete denial,” says Leary.