Book Recommendation: A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George
Frederick and Jette are two German youth in love in early 20th century. Things happen, ahem, and they find themselves on the outs with Jette’s mother. Worried about what drastic measures her mother might take for the sake of the family’s reputation, Jette urges Frederick to go to America where they can start a new life. They end up making their way into America through New Orleans rather than through New York, which sets the course of their lives forever.As they haphazardly plant their family roots in Beatrice, Missouri, their story climbs and reaches out, revealing the colorful branches of the Meisenheimer tree.
Ahh, where do I start with this novel?
First off, I loved the way the author described music as it was played or sung. Here are a couple of examples:
…he delivered languid anthems, shimmering with funeral grace; stately marches, their formal pomp showered by share syncopation; and breezy romps, melodic lines prancing onward, light as air.
They swooped and rumbled, creating layered confections of a cappella harmony, cross-pollinations…Their voices would stack up with exquisite precision for a dazzling instant; then they would move on, tearing down the edifice they had just created and constructing another of equal wonder in its place…Their last note, a big, fat sunbeam of harmony that refracted through the room in warm shafts of beauty, rang out for several beats too long, the singers reluctant to bring the music to an end.
Along this same thread, his metaphors gave beauty to an otherwise tragic sentence:
It was the war’s final shake of its monstrous fist.
Second, it was relatable in ways that all families have their story. They experience disappointment, lost opportunities, dumb luck, and all with brutal honesty. I fell in love with the characters, Frederick and Jette, Joseph and Cora, their children, and friends that seemed like family like Lomax. All of the characters played a part, regardless of how big or small, in telling the Meisenheimer story.
The Meisenheimer legacy is revealed through events throughout their lives: birth, death, coming of age, marriages, love affairs, jobs, and friendships. This story played like a movie in my mind, to quote author Erika Robuck “reminiscent of Forrest Gump.” There are witty dialogues, funny misunderstandings, heart-twisting tragedies, ironical unveilings, and throw-you-for-a-loop plot twists. Throw in a stubborn German heritage and you have a great story.
I was entertained throughout the entire book which garners a big “ya gotta read this” from me.
Plus, he lives in Missouri. (Scratch that. Could be seen as a strike against him.) He lives in the MIDWEST.
Plus, I have met him. He’s all things charming and witty.
Plus, you will someday be able to say “I read the book, like SO long ago” while you are sitting in the movie theater noshing popcorn waiting for the 203 previews to get over to see the main feature, A Good American.
Be “a good american” and give this book a chance.
You can find out more about Alex and follow his blog at AlexGeorgebooks.com.