A GOOD AMERICAN

A GOOD AMERICAN

A NOVEL

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"A beautifully written novel, laced with history and music." --Emily St. John Mandel, author of  Station Eleven

A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BOOKPAGE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Everything he'd seen had been unimaginably different from the dry, dour streets of home, and to his surprise he was not sorry in the slightest. He was smitten by the beguiling otherness of it all.

 

And so began my grandfather's rapturous love affair with America--an affair that would continue until the day he died.

This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. It's where his German grandparents--Frederick and Jette--found themselves after journeying across the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being brought to a sudden halt by the broken water of the pregnant Jette.

  A Good American tells of Jette's dogged determination to feed a town sauerkraut and soul food; the loves and losses of her children, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, sometimes raised in discord...sometimes in perfect harmony. 

But above all, A Good American is about the music in Frederick's heart, a song that began as an aria, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country that the family still hears to this day.

ISBN: 9780425253175
Branch Call Number: PB FICTION GEO

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p
pp47
Jul 03, 2016

i really enjoyed the book but could done without some of the explicit scenes,great story telling over 4 generations

LibrarySquare Jan 30, 2016

Fredrick’s opera singing in a park in Germany attracts Jette and thus begins their musical love affair. When Jette’s pregnancy is revealed, she becomes disowned by her parents, and the couple flees to America with dreams of a life, as "good Americans." The uplifting family saga has you laughing and crying in turn. Readers are immediately captivated by vivid characters and stark events of their boat crossing the Atlantic. This memorable multi-generational tale told through the eyes of their grandson, James, unfolds the ups and downs of an immigrant family’s life. Historical events from WWI, Prohibition and the Great Depression are entwined with family experiences and with the music of the times, from opera to barbershop quartet and the many cuisines in America.

m
maipenrai
Oct 19, 2013

AUDIOBOOK AVAILABLE THRU MINN LINK

mrsgail5756 Mar 18, 2013

A very good read. I enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book for all to read.

debwalker Feb 05, 2013

Pennie's (Costco) pick for February 2013

r
Rowergirl25
Jun 08, 2012

This book started out as a classic immigrant story that I really enjoyed, but over the last 1/2 to 1/3 of the book it peters out. The ending was artificial and felt like it was just thrown in at the last minute. It left me a little cold. Overall though, a nice quick read.

e
epreid
Apr 04, 2012

This book starts out well but the last 1/3rd seems to be a hodge podge until the unravelling at the end. It would be a quick cottage read.

EXCELLENT story! I miss my tme spent in Beatrice already. I highly recommend.
http://literaryhoarders.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/just-read-it-book-review-a-good-american/

m
mkimball
Mar 17, 2012

Quick read. Similar to "The Help" in style and some topics (same editor). The story of immigration will touch practically every American and spark us to tell our own stories. The reader doesn't get bogged down in historical detials, but is satisfied with the story of the characters. We are lucky to have such an author share this town with us!

lilylibrarian Mar 14, 2012

This family epic starts out as an engaging immigrant adventure, but as the family becomes Americanized, the storytelling disintegrates into improbabilities and even some offensive sequences such as the succession of hypocritical and idiotic clergymen. Too bad.

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mrsgail5756 Mar 18, 2013

“Things may come to those who wait…but only the things left by those who hustle.” -Abraham Lincoln

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