Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Eli the Good” as Want to Read:
Eli the Good
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Eli the Good

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,091 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Bicentennial fireworks burn the sky. Bob Seger growls from a transistor radio. And down by the river, girls line up on lawn chairs in pursuit of the perfect tan. Yet for ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 will go down as the one that threatened to tear his family apart. There is his beautiful and distant mother; his traumatized Vietnam vet dad; his wild and confused ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Candlewick Press (MA) (first published September 8th 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Eli the Good, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Eli the Good

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,052)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Thomas
Eli the Good details the story of Eli, a ten-year-old boy living in the summer of 1976. He is observant, curious, and often times ponders his surroundings regardless of his young age. He notices that his family appears to be torn asunder by the consequences of the Vietnam war - his dad suffers from terrifying dreams and hallucinations, his sister discovers an unsettling fact about herself, and his estranged aunt suddenly returns to live with them. The story shows Eli overcome the obstacles he fa ...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Somewhere around 4/5 stars (I'll explain)

I feel a little guilty for the way I treated this book. I've wanted to read it for ages. But I keep putting it off, all while hearing great things from people about it. Then I read it when I'm really in the mood to read something else, distracted and stressed from work. I'm sorry Eli the Good. I did not give you the attention you deserved. It took me about halfway through before I pushed through my distractions and really into the story. But I honestly do
...more
Crystal
This was the first I've read of Silas House after hearing many of my friends and colleagues speak well of his writing. I was between 4 & 5 stars so I left it at 4 because the conflict in the book was not deeply drawn out because I believe I've also heard this book was intended for a YA audience. I realized as I was listening to it that I was also ten years old in 1976 so everything hit me right where I lived as well. The music, the memories, and I grew up in "the country." I didn't have a fa ...more
Kari
Generally, it seems pretty easy to determine if a book fits into the YA genre, but Silas House's new novel, Eli the Good, threw me for a loop. His writing is carefully crafted to set the tone of any given scene, and the main character, Eli, seems to think in prose. I had no idea that this novel was, in fact, House's YA debut until I did a bit of research about the author.

The year is 1976, and Eli Book is ten years old. With the book told entirely from his perspective, the reader learns first han
...more
La Coccinelle
This isn't the type of book I usually read. I do like some historical fiction, but the setting of this one is fairly recent. To be honest, I almost gave up after 75 pages or so. I'm used to books having more plot, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But I found that I didn't really want to give up on this one, since I'd been drawn in by the characters. I think that's actually the point here; Eli the Good has some nice themes, and the excellent characterization held my interest and conveyed t ...more
Michele
Eli the Good was recommended by my friend, Tenille. I really connected with Eli in this book mainly because I was about Eli's age in 1976...the time period when the story takes place. I had an uncle that was a POW of the Vietnam War. I do not recall how this affected his life when he returned...I know I was sheltered from this by my mother. She would have never wanted my sister and I to deal with pain and mental damage my uncle suffered.

This book reminded me of the book, Darby...both characters
...more
Sheryl
I listened to the audiobook narrated by the author, with his soft, slow Appalachian drawl. The book is flawless, it is descriptive without being effusive, and carries the reader along it's narrative stream like a floating leaf on a lazy summer afternoon.

The protagonist, ten year old Eli Book, has an old soul. He observes his family, friends, and nature with full awareness, and has understanding beyond his years. The story takes place during the summer of the bicentennial, when Eli's Aunt Nell c
...more
Rebecca Brothers
The summer that I was ten--
Can it be there was only one
summer that I was ten? It must
have been a long long one then--

---May Swenson "The Centaur" (as qtd. in House's Eli The Good)

I loved this quotation from the get-go and have since re-read Swenson's poems with a new eye because of this book. Silas House gained famed through his book Clay's Quilt, a book I need to by God go back and read. But this book captured me on a deep level I'm still picking my way through.

Our (anti) hero Eli is 10 as
...more
Holly
Wow - this story transports you to the summer of 1976, cicadas and Bob Seger singing in the sultry Southern air, and to 10-year-old Eli's troubled but beautiful family. I was exactly 10 years old in the summer of 1976, too, so I loved reading about the Bicentennial and the 70s music and pop culture. Eli observes everything: his sister's anger, his aunt Nell's wild and wandering spirit, his father's post traumatic stress from Vietnam, and his mother's transcendent beauty. Eli tries to find his wa ...more
Cathy
Eli, a country boy in Kentucky, turns 10 over the summer of 1976, the summer of America’s bicentennial celebrations. Eli spends time riding bikes with his best friend Edie, reading The Diary of Ann Frank and writing in his journal. His aunt Nell (a war protester during the 1960s) has come to live with them bringing her large record collection and his 16-year-old sister Josie is always mad and fighting. Eli’s father is having nightmares about Vietnam and is a quiet shadow in the family when he is ...more
Joni Allison
Places exist in this world that hold a sense of power and wonder over the people who love them. The town of Refuge, the setting of The Book of Eli by Silas House, is such a place. In the summer of 1976, Eli Book ages well beyond his actual time on earth. He may be 10 years old, but by the end of the summer, he is an old ten-year old. Eli spends his summer struggling with a father who suffers from the aftershocks of fighting in Vietnam, a 16-year-old sister who is rebelling, and a best friend who ...more
Kate
ELI THE GOOD is one of those stories where setting -- place and especially time -- takes center stage. The year is 1976 -- a year I remember for our town's bicentennial parade and because I spent most of it angry that I wasn't allowed to ride my bike to the park alone. Eli remembers it as the year things fell apart in his family -- with a wild-spirited aunt who shows up with a secret, a mouthy, strong-willed sister who comes to blows with their mother, and a father who is trapped in his memories ...more
Lisa
A sweet nostalgic novel set in Kentucky (but pretty much could be anywhere in the Midwest/South where summers are steamy and humid).

Eli is 10 year old boy who spends a summer finding out what happened to father during the Vietnam War and how not be the best friend in the world to another kid. Characters are rich and real, I'm usually not a fan of nostalgic writing or "looking back" books...but Silas House has written this story so fine, I didn't mind the non-present day look. In fact, it was set
...more
Linda Parks
Knowing this book was a YA title, I was comletely taken by surprise by how much I enjoyed it. Silas House has written this story in such a way that anyone - young and old alike - will become absorbed and fall in love with all the characters. With his usual southern charm, he puts you there beside Eli and lets you live his life with him, gently and lovingly carrying you through an innocent yet somewhat troubled summer ~ weaving in family issues we most likely can all relate to. I found it to be a ...more
Hannah Young
10-year-old Eli, who lives out in the country is finding out that his family has secrets. His dad is mentally sick from being in the Vietnam War, his Aunt Nell is an anti-war protester and makes it on the news for all to see, his older sister Josie is rebelling against his mother, and his parent’s marriage is falling apart. The author does a great job of making the audience feel what Eli is feeling. I recommend this book to young adults of the high school age. I thought it was a good book but it ...more
Kandace
House is a master of rural beauty on the page. He has a way of capturing the quietness of country living in a way that resonates with those who are familiar with the song of the cicada and the rustle of a cornfield. And while he strolls leisurely through the Eastern Kentucky landscape, he is not a slave to it. It may play a huge role in the shape of the story and in Eli's journey, but it doesn't overwhelm the human aspect or slow the progression of the story.

I felt a distinct note of nostalgia r
...more
melanie (lit*chick)
Finally read it after Jill recommended. What was I waiting for? I loved it - absolutely gorgeous coming of age story. I bought it on Kindle, but feel like I might need a paper copy so I can underline, with a real pencil not just a cursor, some luscious prose. When you read something this lovely it makes it harder to slog through the regular stuff.
Laurel
This book encompasses everything about small-town Kentucky life in the 1970s, specifically during the summer of the bicentennial, 1976. The details that the author includes - smells, textures, sounds, even the brand names that were a part of daily life - took me back to my childhood! (I was not very old in 1976, and I don't actually remember the celebrations!)
This book made me wonder, more than any other book I've ever read, how different my life would have been if my parents had lived to raise
...more
Juliann


Very poignant read on quite an intense and controversial topic: Vietnam. It's interesting to see this topic explored by a child who is it experiencing the effects of a father affected by his time in Vietnam. I loved the perspective of the child and the exploration of both sides of the issue.
Ron Smith
Elmore Leonard wrote "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." Silas House never sounds like he's writing. He makes sure that he doesn't get in the way of his story. This is one of the things that made Eli the Good such a pleasure to read.
Teresa Bunner
This was a beautifully written book. Eli is so real. I wanted to reach through the pages and scoop him up and hug him. It tugged at my heart, but didn't leave me feeling overwhelmed or morose. I appreciated that.
Kath
I really enjoy reading Silas House because he immediately transports me to beautiful times and places. It is no different with this novel, set in the Summer of '76. Eli has a tremendous story to tell, and the plot and subplot are rich and believable. The three star rating is for the author's excessive overuse of the word, "gloaming." Once is enough, and you should probably be James Still, Lee Smith, or maybe Ron Rash. This was a beautiful, tender coming-of-age story. There is also a lot to be ap ...more
Ayesha
This book did a wonderful job in transporting the reader into the passed summer of a sleepy little town. I felt as if I were actually there with Eli Book as he went through his summer. I actually cared for these characters, which doesn't happen too often, which really puts a damper on my reading experience, but this book was exceptional! Though Eli is so young and sometimes acts that way, I got a solemn and grown up feel from him since he silently observes the world from his hiding spots and mos ...more
Donalyn
Eli struggles with his father's PTSD after returning home from Vietnam.
Tenille Shade
It’s been a while since I read a book that was so well written I had to pause and reread on almost every page. As I let the words and sentences sink deep inside my soul, I was magically transported back to the late 1970’s when the world was full of turmoil due to the Vietnam War. The family dynamics felt all too familiar, and I could see how the conflict was both internal and external.

I think Nell was probably my favorite character. Her role as the peacekeeper gave me hope, and it was obvious t
...more
Bobbi Rightmyer
Silas House is the bestselling Kentucky author of CLAY'S QUILT, PARCHMENT OF LEAVES and THE COAL TATTOO - all centering around several generations of the same family growing up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. With this book, Silas tries his hand a writing for young adults and he has ended up with an endearing look at a slice of life from the summer of 1976.

Eli Book is a ten year old boy, living like most children of the 1970s - riding his bicycle all over town, splashing in the town creek and
...more
Eden
An interesting story, but I have the feeling it really is meant for adults, not middle school students. More appropriate for high school, but the narrator being 10 would put them off. By the way, the 10 year old really felt more like an 8-9 year old, than a 10 year old. He didn’t ring quite true to me and I think the author lost site of his age several times in the story. Follett didn’t even give it a YA rating – no reading interest levels whatsoever. I was 16 – Josie’s age in 1976 and I remembe ...more
Books and Literature for Teens
Eli the Good is a beautifully crafted and compelling novel about love, war, and the meaning of family.
To me this book felt timeless, something you could read over and over again and still get something new out of it. It brought you back to your childhood and made you remember what it was like being a kid on the edge of discovering a complicated world. Eli had so much wisdom to tell you have to slow down, savor the words, and listen. It’s doesn’t matter if the setting is in 1976 or that the Vietn
...more
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
wow I totally finished this on Saturday and apparently completely forgot to write my review... so I'm not going to write one now, I'll just say that this is a very good book in most ways and has some lovely and memorable passages. Here are some quotes:

"I ran up the path as dusk came in with purple and red and a kind of whiteness I cannot explain. The light was different that summer, a clean light that filtered through the leaves and made them look like pieces of typing paper that had been cut in
...more
Thomas Holbrook
There is a moment when a child steps from a world of order, trust and ignorant bliss into an awareness that life is messy, confusing and occasionally chaotic. This awakening causes the world to tilt a bit, causing unsteadiness and a sense of fright at the sudden vertigo brought on by the intensity of the light in this new vantage point. For Eli Book, this moment occurred in 1976, the summer the nation turned 200 and Eli was 10.
Eli narrates this tale of family growing up in an era of transition.
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blackberries, Blackberries
  • River of Earth
  • The Wild Book
  • Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories
  • Blue Plate Special
  • Every Day After
  • Revolution
  • Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2)
  • Blessing's Bead
  • Selling Hope
  • Crow
  • When the Whistle Blows
  • Sources of Light
  • Nora's Chicks
  • Caminar
  • Down Sand Mountain
  • The Trouble With Half a Moon
  • The Water Seeker
13978
Silas House is an American writer best known for his novels. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist, and columnist. He lives in Eastern Kentucky, where he was born and raised.

House's fiction is known for its attention to the natural world, working class characters, and the plight of the rural place and rural people. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist and columnist
...more
More about Silas House...
A Parchment of Leaves Clay's Quilt Same Sun Here The Coal Tattoo Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Sometimes just being still is the best thing you can do for yourself.” 21 likes
“I've never understood why people run to get out of the rain in the summertime... People will drive miles and miles to go jump in a cool swimming hole, but when it rains, they scatter.” 20 likes
More quotes…