Thursday, 15 August 2019

We Are All Good People Here

Author: Susan Rebecca White
Genre: Historical Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Atria Books
First Published: August 6, 2019
Opening Lines: "Daniella's father steered the Dodge Pioneer up the serpentine drive of Belmont College, home to more than five hundred girls renowned for their Beauty and Brains, or at least that was what the boosterish tour guide who had shown Daniella around the previous spring had claimed."

Book Description from GoodReadsEve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.

Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.

Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivating…meaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.

My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: With We Are All Good People Here, White has taken on thirty years of American history to show how the political and social issues of the time influence two friends differently as they weave in and out of each others' lives over three decades. 

It's an interesting premise set within a rather large time period. Unfortunately, I expected to like it more than I did. This book has a lot of is historical detail and it's evident that White spent a lot of time researching but often the book had a Nonfiction/History textbook feel while the character development felt a little neglected. 

The plot also dragged quite a bit in a few places, and I ended up taking a couple of breaks from the book (both in the first half - with one directly after the 'cat' scene). My interest picked up in the second half somewhat, but I can't say I ever, truly got invested in the story.

This is a coming-of-age story featuring two generations of women during the tumultuous political and social climate from the 1960's to the 1990's. It has an ambitious premise and includes a sometimes overwhelming amount of historical data but unfortunately it often felt like it skimmed some of the deeper 'why' questions I wanted answered. In the end, I think it tried to do too much and its disjointed telling lost me along the way.

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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