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Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Good American: A BlogHer Book Club Review

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

You guys, I don't even know how to start with this one.

The book was ... delicious. The words and the storytelling were magnificent, the characters real and raw and flawed in a perfectly human way. And there is ample talk of both food and music, things that are both pretty dear to my heart.

I'm still reeling from it a little -- in some parts, because I don't get to read fiction very often (I'm a hard case for memoir/social science stuff, so that I feel like I'm learning or at least bearing witness to a real story) and it's actually shaken me a bit to realize this story isn't real, because it reads as both memoir and social science study.

I was reluctant to start the book, because it seemed to be about a bunch of things in which I had little interest -- German emmigration to America pre-WWI; German food (oh, ick); jazz and blues music (eh); and Missouri, a place I've been once. But I gave it a chance, and the storytelling just sucked me right in.

A Good American has so many twists and turns in it -- but not for just a thrill, but because that's what happens over the span of three generations of a family -- that I'm struggling to not spoil the whole thing for you, because that wouldn't be fair. It's a beautifully written story of family and love and the ties that bind us to each other and the places we call home and the things we nourish ourselves with to sustain our lives.

I encourage you to read this book, for yourself, for fun, and to witness masterful storytelling and the beauty that can be found in words and how they describe everything from love to food to music.