The Good House
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Format: Hardcover, 482pp
Pub. Date: September 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Reviewed by Thumper
Tananarive Due has returned with The Good House, her best book to date. The Good House is a magnificent, irresistible family drama of one family fighting an evil that threatens its past, present and future. I adored it. I couldn't, and didn't want to put this book down, .
In Sacajawea, Washington, during the 1920’s, Marie Toussaint and her young daughter, Desiree, were the only black residents in the all white Washington state town. With her common law Native American husband John, the Toussaints lived in one of the grandest house in Sacajawea, known to the town folks as, The Good House. Marie was a nurse and the high priestess of an African religion that was taught to her by her grandmother. In 1929, Marie exorcised a demon from the body of a young white girl. The demon, seeking revenge, placed a curse on Marie's family bloodline. The sins of the grandmother will be visited upon the granddaughter.
In the summer of 2000, the life of Angela Marie Toussaint’s, Marie's only grandchild, becomes completely undone. Angela's 16 year old son Corey Hill committed suicide and her troubled marriage to Tariq Hill was shattered beyond repair. When Angela finally managed to piece some semblance of a life together, she was haunted by the past. Angela returned to the Good House, and faced the evil force that her grandmother had unleashed.
I am absolutely gaga over The Good House. I could not get enough of it. At the heart of The Good House is a multigenerational family drama that captured and held my attention. As reader pf my reviews know, I love family dramas. There is no drama that has the intensity of emotions and brings out the sheer nosiness of people like a good family drama. The Good House is a family drama seasoned with the supernatural.
I found the characters believable and captivating, especially Angela. Instantly, I formed a bond with Angela because I sympathized with her loss. Angela's pain and suffering over Corey's suicide was heart wrenching to witness and yet I could not take my eyes off Angela. Angela is the type of hero who makes suspense novels exciting to read. She is the everyday woman who suddenly finds herself in an extraordinary situation, and with intelligence and a strong moral character, rises to the occasion. The supporting cast which consisted of Myles Fisher, Angela's first love; Tariq Hill, Angela's husband, and Marie Toussaint, were wonderfully created.
The only chocolate chip in my milk was Corey. Due hit a bull's eye with her portrayal of Corey, yet Corey got on my nerves. My irritation with Corey is not due to the construction of his character, but to the fact that he was 16 years old and most 16 year olds have a tendency to do things that piss me off. Before I went tee-totally off on Corey, the thought hit me that Corey was still a child. I could not expect him to make an informed, rational decision when immaturity is still a part of his mental makeup. Only then did the beauty of Corey's depiction begin to shine through.
I can not applaud Due's vivid, lifelike creation of the imaginary town of Sacajawea, Washington enough. The townspeople, their attitudes, even the folksy atmosphere than I usually associate with Mayberry from The Andy Griffith show, rang sure and true. I felt as if Due was my Ghost of Christmas Past and she had me hovering over the town seeing its residents from God's eye view. It was the best seat in the house.
The Good House is an incredible, mesmerizing, multi-dimensional novel. I lived the novel from beginning to end. This feat is quite an accomplishment for me since The Good House weighs in at almost 600 pages. You all know I'm not a "connoisseur" of the big fat novel. But, when the writing is good, the size of the book does not matter. The Good House is an exciting read that solidifies Due's growing prominence in the science fiction/horror genre.