The Women of A Good Hard Look
"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it" -- Flannery O'Connor
Ann Napolitano does a fantastic job of bringing the women of Milledgeville together in A Good Hard Look to create a story that is rich, colorful and tragic. I will be honest, upon reading the book I had no idea who Flannery O'Connor was and I thought her character was complete fiction.
From the moment I picked up the book and read of the peacock's aural attack on the town the night of Cookie and Melvin's wedding I was hooked.
I spoke with a friend about the characters depicted and she told me that Flannery O'Connor was in fact a real author. After hearing this and re-reading the first part of the book with that in mind, I appreciated A Good Hard Look even more.
I demolished this novel and loved the characters and their interwoven stories and I would have to say that it was the women of A Good Hard Look that drew me in.
The links between Lona, Cookie and Flannery were of the most interest to me. All growing up around the same time in the same small town, these women all started as girls with the same chances of success as each other. Sure, some had more money than others but all three had the dreams of young girls. Their lives met and intersected at times and, in particular with Cookie and Flannery, through distrust and misunderstanding they impacted each other's lives. Lona seemed to live in the background of the other two, living a much more ordinary life. It may have been this ordinary life and the desire for things far more exciting that drove her to do what she did. Cookie and Flannery throughout their own separate lives had similar problems. All three were misunderstood. All three were searching. Sort of like myself and many other women I think. I saw parts of myself in each of them, through experiencing similar decisions, situations, and events and perhaps it was for this reason I really enjoyed this book.
Thanks to Ann Napolitano, I am now searching for Flannery O'Connor's work and I can't wait to read the words written by a the woman I feel I almost know.