Friday, July 31

Book Review: A Good House

Title: A Good House

Author: Bonnie Burnard

Pages: 283

Summary: Bill Chambers has come home from the Second World War with several fingers of his right hand missing but with the will to restore his family life intact. He wants the best for his wife, Sylvia, and his children Patrick, Paul and Daphne, and with his already steady job at the hardware store, the future stretches out before him. Yes as that future takes hold and the family members pull apart and come together again, bonds deepen and widen, loyalties are tested by time and chance, and love creates its own snares.

In a Good Home, Bonnie Burnard’s keen powers of observation and her sensitivity to emotional nuance produce a rich portrait of an ordinary small-town family from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. She has created people we canal recognize an a story that is as moving as it is profound.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A beautifully told story, Burnard has a lovely talent at telling a story, and capturing the emotions of her characters perfectly. Although at times the story was a little slow moving at times, I had a hard time putting this book down, a very hard time. The writing style flows very nicely, describing enough to set a great scene, but also has short to the point descriptions. She was able to paint the perfect small town community as well as, “perfect” characters. By perfect characters, I mean ones full of flaws, emotions, pain, happiness, struggles and strengths. These are characters that seem very real to the reader as they read through the book and are ones the reader is able to connect and wish that these characters, weren’t going through the hard times they go through, or wish that they are happy and flourish.

I also liked the way the book was written, having it span from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Each section of the book a different year in the families lives, but it didn’t have a section for each year, just the important years of the family was focused on, although the narrator did fill you in on important evens, in these sections that lead up to what happens, I thought it was a clever method. You’re also able to see things from multiple view points, not just the grandparents, or the children, because the narrator is an anonymous voice that is able to give you insight on everyone around them.

My only criticism as I said before, was that it did move a little slowly at times in a few parts, but over all a wonderfully written book, full of emotion and powerful characters.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, I'd recommend it. It's a well told story at the very least, and I think readers will appreciate the heart and soul and emotion the author put into the book.

What to read next: The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart, All Our Worldly Goods - Irene Nemirovosky

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Book Awards III Challenge


  1. I like family stories that span numerous years. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. It sounds like this book had a really good handle on characterization, which is something that my past few reads have been lacking. I also like that it spans several years. I think I am going to try and get a hold of a copy of this book. Great review, and thanks for the heads up on this one!

  3. Both of you should check it out, it's probably easy to find, (since I saw it everywhere before finally nabbing it from a library!) hope when/if you read it you enjoy it!