Small Town Life Shines in A Good Hard Look

BlogHer Review

In A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano, Cookie Himmel travels back home to Milledgeville, Georgia with her husband-to-be, Melvin Whiteson. In the beginning of the story, they are married and move into a quaint little house. Immediately readers are introduced to a variety of unique characters, but one in particular will stand out. Flannery O'Connor, the resident peacock owner. Flannery owns over a dozen of these birds and is well known in town for writing books that are based on the local residents. These books show the townspeople's true colors and are not as highly regarded by some of them, such as Cookie.

There are other characters that shine through the book such as Lona Waters, the dutiful housewife who sews curtains for a living, her husband Bill, and her daughter Gigi as well as Regina, Flannery's mother, Joe and his mother Mary, and Cookie's parents.

The story indicates early on there is a line of tension present between Cookie and Flannery and so Melvin is by association not allowed to visit with her. Yet, Melvin is drawn to the quirky woman and ends up giving her driving lessons.

The story leads to tragedy that affects the main characters in different ways, and each character transforms by the end, both for good and bad.

I can relate to Flannery, probably because I'm from a small town and never felt like I fit in well. I love that Flannery never falters or gives in to anyone else's desires. The changes in her character are not changes to her personality, but more like evolutions that are not only appropriate, but desired.

I did not feel completely satisfied with the ending of the book, I yearned for more! I can only hope there will be a sequel to continue this story. If you enjoy reading stories with a unique setting, you'll really enjoy this book. Who can resist peacocks?

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