A Good Hard Look: Tearing Down the Facades
I began reading Ann Napolitano's A Good Hard Look and quickly settled in, expecting an easy summer read. Set in the south, I had my mind prepared to relax in the quaint town of Milledgeville, Georgia. And as the story starts with a wedding, I had high hopes for a story of love and romance. But things quickly changed in Milledgeville, and I realized this was not going to be quite the easy journey I had planned.
Melvin and Cookie met in New York, but have just moved to Milledgeville, Georgia. After losing his parents, Melvin agrees to move back to Cookie’s hometown. It’s immediately clear that though that is where Cookie’s heart belongs, Melvin’s heart is meant for the city. Their lack of communication and honesty with one another in this decision became the foundation of their relationship... a foundation that was susceptible to cracks.
This small town in Georgia hosts its share of characters. Flannery, an author who also spent time living in New York, has returned home after being diagnosed with lupus. Her peacocks (and their screams) set the stage for this story and provide the backdrop to the end. One of Flannery’s best~known novels is based upon the people of Milledgeville... and does not reflect them in a good light. The impact of this on Cookie has a lifetime effect. It shapes her entire future and has a ripple effect on most of the town.
All of the characters in A Good Hard Look work to maintain a facade, but those are simply masks that are easily ripped off when truth begins to be revealed. Lies become uncovered. Deceit rears its ugly head. And suddenly, this quiet Georgia town is the scene of tragedy.
A Good Hard Look turned out to be a wonderful summer~time read. I enjoyed slowly getting to know each of the characters. I loved watching each character develop into their real self as their facade was washed off. My stomach turned as decisions were made that should not have been. As the last chapters revealed these characters in their newly revealed, true selves I could not put the book down. And, as I closed this book, I sat for a while and pondered the journey I had just taken with Melvin, Cookie, Regina, Flannery, Lona, Gigi, and the small town of Milledgeville, Georgia. I felt as though we had taken quite a journey together and it’s one I would recommend others take as well.
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