Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall - Book Review

Something I run into frequently reading adult fiction, are books with a really cool premise. Those ideas and topics that I am so excited to see the author explore, and for me to explore myself- that I scoop the book up as soon as I read the back cover- unfortunately, sometimes those books don't live up to the hype I've created in my mind. Keep reading to find out where I feel "The Best Kind of People" fell short.

The Best Kind of People
by Zoe Whittall

amazon // library // goodreads

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable? George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt? With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

So much potential, some met

Reviewing this book is a lot harder for me than I anticipated- I'm definitely a little conflicted. When I started "The Best Kind of People" I was really excited because I immediately connected with Whittall's writing style. On page one she described someone as "He was the kind of angry that only made sense outside of language". Woah- love that. And there were some other moments in the book where I felt that same tug that I love as a reader, where the language is just so striking and amazing. At the same time, there were large chunks that felt pretty overly written, it's a tough balance as a writer and unfortunately the flowery writing took quite a bit of my enjoyment of the book.

The topics in this book were what drew me to reading it, and I guess that is where the potential feels most unmet. The characters weren't as conflicted as I had initially thought they might be, and at times their choices just seemed very unbelievable. For example, one of the main characters, Sadie, is first in her class and is presumably very dedicated to her studies. Yet somehow that aspect of her character just seems to fall away, which is absolutely possible in a situation as traumatic as finding out your father may be a child molester- but it would be a conversation, and certainly a struggle for Sadie to maintain her GPA and her standing amongst this chaos- and yet, it wasn't.

Unsympathetic Characters

Sadie was intitally the character I was most drawn to, so perhaps that is why I was so frustrated by her storyline. Her life as a successful and strong student was hardly discussed, and instead a lot more time was spent talking about Sadie's frequent drug use and attempt at a relationship with a significantly older man. Every time I felt drawn to a character they would say or do something that just really made me struggle to connect or even feel sympathy for them.

This was a three star read for me- there were moments that I enjoyed- the pacing was strong, the characters ( while at times acting in unlikely manners) were developed, and the premise of the book was intriguing. But ultimately the writing style and characters left me wanting more.

Have you read "The Best Kind of People" by Zoe Whittall? Let me know what you thought of the book below! Thinking about reading this book? Be sure to check out the link above to find the book at your local library, Amazon, or Goodreads. Happy reading!

Many thanks to Random House and Ballantine Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As a "girl about library", where books are always free, you can be sure that all opinions expressed are my own. Happy reading!


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