Good Harbor
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Good Harbor

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  4,073 ratings  ·  509 reviews
Anita Diamant whose rich portrayal of the biblical world of women illuminated her acclaimed international bestseller The Red Tent, now crafts a moving novel of contemporary female friendship.
Good Harbor is the long stretch of Cape Ann beach where two women friends walk and talk, sharing their personal histories and learning life's lessons from each other. Kathleen Levine...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 2nd 2002 by Scribner (first published 1980)
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Marcia Lonteen-Martin
Good Harbor is at best a mediocre book. I was greatly disappointed, since I expected more from the author of one of my favorite novels, The Red Tent.
Two women meet at this harbor on Cape Ann. Katherine is a children's librarian, married and the mother of grown sons, and recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Joyce is younger, the mother of a ten year old daughter, married, and a writer. She buys a bungalow near the harbor and proceeds to paint and fix it up while her husband remains behind an...more
Ginnie Leiner
If a married woman were to list the significant personal relationships in her life, it would be assumed that the most significant, most deeply felt, most comforting, most interactive would be with her spouse. Love those men (or women) as we may, oftentimes they would not fill the role as adequately as a trusted female friend. I had (have) such a friend. For 18 years I spoke every day with her about the significant and the mundane details of my life. The experience was never finished until I told...more
Karen White
This was my first book of 2012 and the first for the What's in a Name Reading Challenge (for the topographical feature category). I would really give this a 3 1/2 stars if that was possible. I did like the two main characters and their evolving friendship, and the descriptions of the North Shore (MA) coastline made me miss it so much! Oh, to live near an east coast shoreline...
What I didn't like so much was that I had this weird feeling I'd read it before (which is not really the book's fault -...more
I never knew that Anita had written anything besides the Red Tent. I was at a conference and I sat in on a forum with her and Maggie Anton. This book was a lovely surprise. It is not a Shakespearean masterpiece but a wonderful feel good book about friendship and life. There were a few surprises along the way that reminded me that this was a work of fiction but otherwise I totally could see myself sitting right next to these ladies and watching a friendship bloom! I highly recommend it and it eve...more
This was a very quick read from an author I have loved, on themes I was mostly not versed in. Though the women's circumstances were thankfully unfamiliar to me, I would recommend this book to anyone who has struggled to make friends during a transition or a tough personal time, and who knows (or wants to know) the blessing of walking and talking with good company. The harbor of the book's title is not only Joyce and Kathleen's favorite stretch of beach, but a metaphor for the haven they become f...more
The story involved breast cancer – DCIS – which I have had, and it was somewhat interesting to read about that. However, I didn’t get it at all when the woman’s first and only reaction to the mastectomy option was horror…wouldn’t even consider it. That seemed unrealistic to me, that she didn’t at least acknowledge the worth of mastectomy.

Um, it was good, I guess. I mean, I stayed interested and all, but it just seemed a little too simple, contrived; made use of too many tired stereotypes. The f...more
Anita Diamant's book, Good Harbor, was an excellent, quick, vacation read. As it tells about the relationship between two women and how it grows into an important friendship for one-another, we hear much of their important life histories. It's the kind of book that makes you wish you had a friend as good as Joyce or Kathleen. The title, Good Harbor, refers not only to the name of the beach upon which they walk, but the relationship itself is its own "good harbor" for the two women. It is a safe...more
My Book Club Selection for June of 09. A good read from Anita Diamant, exploring the mother/daughter relationship (I pray my daughter will not turn into an alien when she hits puberty!) and friendships. An "easy read" that made me laugh and cry. The Book Club discussion was very interesting, as a few women found it too "light". One said "it was like a bag of potato chips. I didn't need to eat it, but I did" -- which got us all laughing.
What I enjoyed most about this book were the descriptions of the places on Cape Ann, since we have stayed there often over many, many years. The "red hotel" that marks the end of the beach at high tide is one we have stayed at, and we too have crossed the wooden bridge over the tidal creek. The traffic circles, the bridge, Bearskin was fun to visit them in this book with the characters.

This is the 3rd time I have read this author. First was "The Red Tent", many years ago. Then in Rock...more
I enjoyed this book about a friendship between two women very much, despite the fact that the plot was not a new one. I knew in advance that it was completely different than the Red Tent, so I did not try to compare it. I identified with both women at certain points, and I think many women older than 45 will agree with me. The book was very spiritual in how the characters understand each other and respect the others faith. The only thing that bothered me slightly is that everything gets tied up...more
Anita Diamant's international bestseller The Red Tent brilliantly re-created the ancient world of womanhood, exploring the passions, traditions, and turmoil of a family of mothers and daughters from the Book of Genesis. In Good Harbor, she brings her remarkable storytelling skills and emotional insight to the lives of modern women, considering the precarious balance of marriage and career, motherhood and friendship.

The seaside town of Gloucester, on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, is a place where the...more
Barks & Bites
I read this as an unabridged audiobook. Not having read The Red Tent I had nothing to compare Good Harbor to for good or bad. Overall I all enjoyed listening to this in the morning but it wasn't nearly as emotional as I'd expected it to be which is good, I guess, because I expected it to make me a runny mess. On the downside, this is a book I won't remember come next week . . .

It was a nice, gentle tale about the distance that can develop between couples that often goes unnoticed but it was also...more
Jill Furedy
There's someone who reviewed this who wondered if they read this before and forgot about it because it seemed so familiar ...which was the exact reaction I had. There's a good chance a read it after I loved Red Tent so much, I mighht have looked for other titles by her. Nothing particularly stands out about this book, unlike Red Tent, so it could easily have been read and forgotten and then picked back up. It was near another book I was looking for at the library and I thought...oh, I should rea...more
Anita Diamant whose rich portrayal of the biblical world of women illuminated her acclaimed international bestsellerThe Red Tent,now crafts a moving novel of contemporary female friendship.Good Harbor is the long stretch of Cape Ann beach where two women friends walk and talk, sharing their personal histories and learning life's lessons from each other. Kathleen Levine, a longtime resident of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is maternal and steady, a devoted children's librarian, a convert to Judaism,...more
Janet Gardner
This one was just okay. The narrative moves back and forth, chapter by chapter, between two women. Kathleen is a school librarian recently diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a lumpectomy and subsequent radiation treatment. Joyce’s troubles seem more mundane: she’s uninspired by her work and troubled by the uneasy feeling that she’s drifting away from her workaholic husband and moody, adolescent daughter. The two women meet, instantly bond, and help each other through a few rough months....more
Bookventures Book Club
Essentially, this story is about the power of friendship, no matter the age it is forged and how friendships can help you through some of the most difficult periods. I loved both characters in the story. I identified with Kathleen because she was steady and mature but most of all she was strong. Even in her most difficult times, she did not complain or show signs that she was hurt. I loved Joyce because she was the wise crack; the sarcastic friend who always knew what to say to make you laugh. T...more
Joyce is a romance writer who recently purchased a vacation home near Good Harbor, Massachusetts. Kathleen is a children's librarian living in the area who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The two meet at Synagogue one week (both are Jewish, though Kathleen converted from Catholicism before getting married) and become fast friends. Together they journey through many changes in their marriages, children, and selves. It's beautifully written, and has instilled in me a desire to see this...more
This is a tale about friendship. Two women need friends. One has breast cancer and fears that, like her sister, she may die from the disease. With whom can she share her thoughts and fears? The other feels abandoned by her husband whose job consumes almost every waking moment. In addition, her teenage daughter is becoming increasingly difficult. She, too, needs someone to listen to her.

As the friendship develops, Kathleen and Joyce find the time they spend together more and more important. Kathl...more
Shonna Froebel
This is the story of two women who become friends. Kathleen Levine has lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts all her life. She converted from Catholocism to Judaism before her marriage, and raised her family here. She is a librarian at the local school, and has an affinity for pairing children with the right book to get them to read. Joyce Tabachnik is a freelance writer, who uses the money from her first novel, under a nom de plume, to buy a small house in Gloucester as a place to write and a vaca...more
I was not a fan of The Red Tent, but I saw this book in the bargain bin and thought I'd give this author another try. Now I see why this book was in the bin.

I'll admit to being predisposed to dislike this book, because I dislike cancer stories. I should have read the dust jacket first, I guess.

But beyond that, I find Diamant's writing clumsy and belabored. For instance, she had her character explain numerous times why she had an Irish first name and a Jewish last name. Really, one explanation w...more
Toeknee mabanes
Two weeks ago I finished the novel, Good Harbor by the best selling author of the novel The Red Tent (a favorite read), Anita Diamant. A story about two women facing fragile points in their lives, these two women sealed a friendship in between fighting breast cancer, a failing marriage, and a common experience that sealed their fates.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

- Buddy, talking to his wife Kathleen about death. Kathleen was having a hard time dealing with breast cancer and t...more
I tend to agree with another reviewer who felt used, like the author had a deadline to meet for her editor and didn't give the ending the time necessary to make it decent. I also agree with another reviewer that I found Joyce to be dull--I guess maybe she was more petulant than dull, but still not appealing. I would definitely not have been able to maintain a friendship with her. I also thought that Joyce's affair was ridiculously pathetic, and while it was a way to get Kathleen to reveal her ow...more
Well, it's OK, I guess. I admired the writer and the research she put into The Red Tent, but this is too cutsy, somewhat too PC, dragged out, and sort of didactic. We get the idea very early that one of the female main characters is afraid to death of breast cancer (and many other things including guilt over the death of a todler son), and that is legitmate. Then her newfound best friend is in a kind of crisis with a resentful daughter, her only child; a husband who seems over-absorbed in his wo...more
Dec 01, 2009 Alex rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cancer survi
Shelves: attempted
Life is too short to finish Good Harbor. I know Anita Diamant meant well and I know many women would appreciate this book: those who've struggled with cancer; women who find men bland; women who find great reprieve in friendships with other women; those who have difficult children; women going through midlife crisis; those who enjoy the east coast and beaches. Although I appreciate and honor these experiences, my womanhood is defined differently.

This book immediately followed Jane Hamilton and I...more
Faith Justice
I interviewed Diamant when The Red Tent hit it big and this book was the answer to the question, "What's next?" She was ready to write something different and modern after three years of marketing her historical novel and driving it to the best seller lists. This book continues some themes - women's relationships, family and loss - and is a fast easy read. The story centers around the relationship between Kathleen, a fifty-seven-year-old children's librarian with breast cancer and Joyce a forty-...more
I've always wanted to read some Anita Diamant, but perhaps this was not a good choice. It's the story of a friendship that grows between a woman who has recently been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and a woman who is profoundly lonely in her marriage. I found the portions devoted to the disease and treatment of the cancer patient interesting, but that's mostly for personal reasons (a family history of the disease, and my own desire to become a nurse). I found the portions devoted to the ot...more
This book started out slow and I was really unsure if I'd be able to finish it. I knew I loved "The Red Tent" by the same author, so I made myself keep going. The story revolves around two friends that meet at the beach and help each other go through trials in their lives. It was actually a great book. I would have loved to be AT the beach when reading it, but it really makes me look forward to Florida that much more. The main characters captivated my attention as they make choices, albeit not t...more
This story centers around the friendship of two women with an age gap of 10 years or so. They meet in a Jewish synagogue but neither is religious. The older woman is dealing with the discovery and treatment of breast cancer and the younger gal is struggling with a general malaise in her marriage relationship and career. I think the author strives to show how valuable friendship is for women, but the main characters are not developed to the point where I really cared about either one. She scratch...more
Kathleen and Joyce become good friends over the course of a summer spent in Gloucester, Massachusetts. They take walks along the beach at Good Harbor, a metaphor for the safety and support they feel as they walk and talk there together. Each one is dealing with a crisis of sorts; Kathleen is facing breast cancer and Joyce is struggling with her marriage and her teenage daughter. Despite their age difference they feel a rapport soon after they meet and spend many hours together, walking, talking,...more
Slow, ponderous and devoid of depth, this is a book that comes together at the end if you can keep your attention that long.

Both characters are richly endowed with talent and shallow in their generosity with their families.

I am sure I will be among the minority of dissenters on this book, but I was disappointed.
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Anita Diamant is the author of eleven books and one on the way. She is best-known for her first novel, The Red Tent, which was published in 1997 and won the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, The Red Tent became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and overseas, where it has been published in more than 25 countries. Three other novels followed: Good Harbor...more
More about Anita Diamant...
The Red Tent Day After Night The Last Days of Dogtown Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends New Jewish Wedding, Revised

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“I like the way he danced. And then I like the way we danced together.” 14 likes
“Mind your business" had been the motto of her childhood. But now that seemed like a failing in a friend.” 1 likes
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