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The Good Parents

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  485 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Maya de Jong, an eighteen-year-old country girl from the West, comes to live in Melbourne and starts an affair with her boss, the enigmatic Maynard Flynn, whose wife is dying of cancer. When Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, arrive to stay with her, they are told by her housemate that Maya has gone away and no one knows where she is. As Toni and Jacob wait and search for May ...more
Paperback, 351 pages
Published 2008 by Vintage
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(showing 1-30 of 896)
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Jun 07, 2010 Marvin rated it liked it
This is a good novel set in Australia. In the first, long chapter, a young woman (18 years old) moves from her rural home to Melbourne. We're introduced to her life there, but at the end of the chapter, just as her parents are arriving to visit her, she disappears from Melbourne (and, mostly, from the novel). The rest of the novel shifts around in time and focus, shedding light on both parents (individually & together), their son, their neighbors, their daughter's housemate, and the father's ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ebook, kindle
This was a fabulous book. Maya, the daughter of 'the good parents' is - well, she's frankly annoying and unsympathetic and almost pointless, but fortunately while the book starts off with her, it revolves around the rest of the family - her parents, her brother, her aunt. And THEY are all wonderful, rich characters that I loved, particularly the complexity of the parents lives. It speaks to the idea that a parent's life may be their child NOW to a large extent, but it wasn't always and they real ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I admit did not get through this book--I made it about 1/2 way and skimmed a bunch of that. I just have too many other good books on my "list" to spend my quality Wisconsin reading time trudging through a book that is both poorly developed and seemingly not well-written. This book was filled with too many side-plots, too many characters and too many distractions to be a good novel. I would skip it. Now... if any of my fine friends has read or is reading it and thinks I am wrong let me know and I ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Aaronlisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not an easy novel to read. At times, I seriously considered putting it down and moving onto to another novel.

The writing is superb and the tale that it tells is interesting if at times slightly uncomfortable. It's the tale about a young woman who disappears leaving her parents and family to sort out who and what they are.

It certainly made me think about identity and who we truly are and who we show the world we are, including those who are supposedly the closest to us.
Carolyn Mck
Jan 04, 2016 Carolyn Mck rated it liked it
Shelves: re-read
I'd read this before a few years back and couldn't remember it at all, which says something I suppose. But I so enjoyed London's last novel (The Golden Age) that I wanted to revisit this one. I found a lot of pleasures in it and of course remembered more as I went along.

It is essentially a novel about what it means to be good. There are many examples of people trying to be good - particularly Jacob and his partner Toni. They are a couple from the 60s who tried commune life in the south-west of
I'm afraid that I just can't do this book justice - there are just some things (ideals / moral codes / whatever you'd like to call it) that are ingrained in me and somehow, whilst listening to this audiobook, when they are crossed, I feel really annoyed. I'm not usually like this. Maybe this speaks louder than any other descriptions I could expound of the essence of the book. I feel like Jason (who does not feature very much in the book but I wish he had) - a brethren (ie. living apart from the ...more
I wanted to love this book after "Gilgamesh", but I didn't. Quite. During the first bunch of pages, the point of view shifted from one character to another so often I completely lost track of who these people were. Finally I decided to make a chart. But then I just calmed down and read. It is not Ms. London's fault that my brain is turning into a sieve.

A young woman disappears just when her parents are about to visit. Maya, the missing one, seems to be the central character. The plot ostensibly
Jul 06, 2009 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I thought this book was going to be about two parents trying to locate their missing daughter. It was . . . a little. There were so many different side-stories and characters, that I often had a hard time figuring out who the characters were, or why their stories were part of the book. The language was beautiful. I didn't feel the daughter's story was well--crafted, or that I understood her character at all. Most interesting to me was the mother's back story. I just didn't think it all tied toge ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Maggi rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I didn't like the first chapter but was drawn in more deeply as I read on. The idea that children may repeat the sins of their parents despite all efforts is rarely explored. Complex characters, some of whose motivations are somewhat inexplicable strike me as realistic. Longterm decisions made without enough thought as to the consequences? Absolutely common in the real world. How we shape our decisions and move along through flawed lives, how we base so much on wrong assumption ...more
Maree Kimberley
Jul 22, 2015 Maree Kimberley rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2015
I enjoyed London's The Good Parents. Great storytelling style, interesting and well-rounded characters for the most part. At times I found the portrayal of the parents Jacob and Toni a little on the cliched side (she finds herself at Buddhist retreat; he is attracted to younger woman) but this was handled quite well overall. I really liked Magnus, the younger brother. He seemed the most 'real' to me, and I loved the portrayal of his relationship with his sister Maya, as well as with his auntie. ...more
May 04, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it
My rating is 4 - really like it - although there are elements that are both 3 and 5. Joan London is a wonderful writer and has managed to weave many voices and points of view into one story that wavers between intriguing complex (where you have to be paying attention to make sure you're on the same page as the author, and not still on last chapter's person/story), and occasionally muddled.

The author does human weakness, frailty and idiosyncracies exceptionally well. The people in this book are d
Aug 08, 2014 Maddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Joan London tells the story of Maya De Jong's disappearance through the eyes of her parents in this novel. As Tony and Jacob search for their daughter they find themselves backtracking to their own upbringings. London's juxtaposition of past and present artfully illustrates the impacts parents have on their children, whether intentional or not. And in turn how that is passed down to the next generation as the children grow and become parents themselves. I found that there were so many intricate ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Edith rated it really liked it
Interesting story by this Australian author. It had me thinking about all the reasons/influences/forces that converge to create the life we personally find ourselves living. This story made me reflect on why we make the decisions that we do about HOW we are going to live, and WHO we are going to live with.

The story begins with a young girl making an 'on the spot' decision to leave her current living circumstances...and the mystery remains WHY? That is only one of the questions that lies hoverin
Mar 27, 2010 Siegrist rated it it was amazing
The Good Parents is a wonderful book – complex and detailed. At its centre are Toni and Jacob, parents of eighteen year old Maya who has disappeared. They are an attractive couple: “The couple didn’t think of themselves as old. They wore jeans and leather jackets and much-polished RM Williams boots, more like aging rockers than hippies…You could say a sort of small town version of Nick Nolte and Anjelica Huston”. They are ostensibly happy together and are "good parents". However the stress of th ...more
Dec 07, 2014 Kimbofo rated it really liked it
Australian author Joan London is probably best known for her novel Gilgamesh, which was published in 2001 and garnered critical acclaim in Australia, the UK and USA. The Good Parents, published seven years later, is her second novel.

When the story begins we see events unfold through the eyes of 18-year-old Maya, a naive country girl from Western Australia (WA), who is working as a personal assistant in Melbourne. She's having an affair with her much older boss, Maynard, whose wife has cancer. Wh
Bonnie McCune
Dec 14, 2013 Bonnie McCune rated it it was amazing
Everyone has his own story. It might be funny or frightening, instructive or entertaining. It might bore some and excite others. Telling a story well, so others can relate to it easily, is the duty of the writer. Stories about ordinary people are particularly difficult. When crafted with excellence, the characters hit highs and lows, have flaws and fortes. They face the challenge of surviving in a world that often is cruel and uncaring, nourishing within themselves a careful consideration for th ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Em rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2010
I am delighted to have discovered this book, Joan London writes beautiful, lyrical and descriptive prose which is a total pleasure to read. The novel considers the experiences, relationships and emotional ties between spouse, siblings and of course children and their parents.

We begin with Maya, an 18 year old who having left home disappears immediately prior to her parents arrival to visit - her parents Jacob and Toni reflect and revisit their lives. They consider events from their childhood onw
Jun 04, 2012 Maggie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2009 Felicity rated it really liked it
This lyrical novel served as a perfect remedy for heart-sickness...I'm longing for Melbourne at the moment. The streets and the sounds of the city inform this novel in every page. London's description of Victoria St, Richmond made me hungry for fried flounder; the kind of slightly oily Vietnamese fried rice; and the noise and bustle of Thy Thy 2 (which I'm sure is no longer a feature of the Victoria St landscape). Her description of the Australian Rules football grand final at the MCG was pictur ...more
Feb 06, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
I found London's approach to this story interesting. It is a book about several people's lives rather than simply a story about a 'lost' daughter (who is lost in more ways than one).

This is definitely a novel where the sum of its parts is greater than the whole.

Everyone has a 'story' to tell although most of us don't ever have the opportunity or ability to tell it. But we all have a past and have developed our own ways of muddling through our lives - some more successfully than others, or perha
Anthea Ramos
Feb 07, 2015 Anthea Ramos rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I really enjoyed this book - it was a good story and really well written. Joan London also wrote Gilgamesh, which I scored as a three, but this was a better, more believable story and had a lot of interconectedness between generations and cultural outlook. The ending was believable and although it was a happy ending, it wasn't gushing.
Feb 09, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Dreamy and internal, this book shifts points of view between Maya (who chooses to go missing), her parents, Toni and Jacob, and her brother Magnus. They each explore their relationships to their past, and the places and people who formed them. An interesting view of a family - placed in qan area of the world I would like to know more about.

Would give 3.5 stars if that were possible.
The Good Parents I bought from a seller on another site. Arrived in very bad condition. But I read the book and for me the story was ok. Not one of my favourite books that I have ever read. Review by
Nov 06, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
An Australian girl, Maya de Jong, goes missing, presumably with her boss, and her parents travel to her city, and back in time in their own lives, to find her.
I've read several Australian writers over the last few months, and there is something very dark about their writing. I don't have any great desire to go there, but do wish I knew someone from there so I could endlessly quiz him/her about what it is like.
Joan London (NOT the "journalist") writes beautifully and truly makes you feel you ar
Feb 27, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, c21st, fiction
Joan London is the celebrated author of Gilgamesh - which was short-listed for the Miles Franklin and won the 2002 The Age Book of the Year fiction prize – but despite high praise from the critics, The Good Parents seems to have sunk without a trace, not even longlisted in the major prizes and not given much prominence in my favourite bookshops. It hasn’t shown up in anyone’s Top Ten, or BBRLMs as far as I can remember. Odd, because it’s a very interesting book and I bet it would make a very goo ...more
Jun 17, 2010 Badcat rated it liked it
Just finished this book and although I had some trouble sticking to it at times, I did enjoy it. I liked the characters and related to their emotional descriptions quite a bit.
I loved that it was set in Australia and the descriptive writing of the author really painted a picture for me--I am still a little wrapped up in that world. The author chooses not to explain everything or tie up all the loose ends, but I kind of like that approach. It fits with the book's theme that it's hard to see where
Barbara Rhine
Sep 17, 2014 Barbara Rhine rated it it was amazing
The mother Toni, in this fabulous novel about a missing daughter, is beautifully portrayed, not only in the back story about her own troubled youth, but also in the present, when her children are just about grown. This is a wonderful book, set in Australia and ranging over three generations, whose plot and subject matter is too complex to describe in one paragraph. There are many reasons to read it, and a main one is the mother, with her past that mirrors her daughter’s present, her current long ...more
Jul 21, 2014 Marilu rated it really liked it
Great read... A runaway story with more to tell but satisfying in it's ending!!
Jul 18, 2014 Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good novel about confronting the past and accepting the unknowable future as well as the tie between family members.
Gabrielle Trenbath
Oct 29, 2011 Gabrielle Trenbath rated it liked it
While this story revolves around a girl’s (Maya) disappearance from Australia’s cultural capital of Melbourne, a lot of the story is based in Perth and WA. This story has more to do with the lives of Maya’s family than her actual disappearance which I found a little disappointing since I wanted to know more about why felt the need to do that to her family. But having said that, the stories of her parents were cool and had me wanting to know what happened and one question I had, why does Perth se ...more
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Joan London is an Australian author of short stories, screenplays and novels.

She graduated from the University of Western Australia having studied English and French, has taught English as a second language and is a bookseller.

She lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, with her husband Geoff.

Joan London was the youngest of four sisters.

A baby boomer, she and her husband, Geoff, did the mandatory
More about Joan London...

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