A Good Hard Look Past People's Facades

BlogHer Review

I love A Good Hard Look’s cover. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book on its cover, but I did. And I love it. It is the ideal introduction to Ann Napolitano's world of Flannery O’Connor. There are so many similarities between the fully plumbed peacock on the cover of the book and the lives of the book’s characters. So much show, but it’s obscuring the truth.

I found Napolitano’s story seething with drama. As I was reading it, I kept feeling like something was just over the horizon, and the waiting was intense! And then everything unwinds for the characters, and the wait is over. You watch simple characters unfurl to reveal these real people underneath with hopes and desires and imperfect thoughts.

Only once the characters are exposed as their true selves did I find myself really liking and empathizing with them. Realizing the characters were real people was refreshing, and it made the end of the book, while not all rainbows and roses, redemptive in some ways and satisfying in others.

I would recommend this book as an interesting look into other’s private lives (who doesn’t love that?) And, as a testament to the idea that life can change in an instant, and we all have to keep moving forward. Or, we don’t, and there are consequences to that too.

I’m keeping the book on my desk so I can still enjoy the cover of the book. I just feel like that peacock has even more to show me.

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