I am so happy I "met" Ann Napolitano through Twitter. If I hadn't, I don't think I would have purchased, read, and loved her book.
A Good Hard Look is set in Milledgeville, Georgia in the early 60s. Cookie, the protagonist is a "frenemy" of Flannery O'Connor. The two women "grew up together", but the story takes place when they are both in their 30s. The story is bittersweet and very engaging.
This is where I must confess that I have never read any of Flannery O'Connor's work. (I was not an English major.) She's always been one of those authors who fall into my "One day I should read something he/she wrote" category. But since I was not familiar with O'Connor, I didn't buy A Good Hard Look when it first came out. I read the great reviews by others, but my stack of Books To Read already threatens to topple over on me in my sleep. Here enters Twitter. Ann Napolitano is quite engaging, and we have other favorite authors in common, specifically, Ann Patchett. The more she and I "Tweeted", the more interested I became in her work, so I bought this novel.
Napolitano is a wonderful writer. Her prose is elegant and smart. The story draws you in, then about 2/3 through, it socks you in the face! Wow! One day life is good, then the next... well, you should read this book yourself to see what I mean. And, if there's anyone else out there who has shied away from this book because they're not familiar with O'Connor, don't let that stop you. In fact, I recently purchased A Good Man Is Hard To Find, a short story collection by O'Connor. So, not only did I find a wonderful book by a contemporary author, but I will finally read something by Flannery O'Connor herself. Thank you, Ann.