Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Whole Golden World” as Want to Read:
The Whole Golden World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Whole Golden World

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,756 ratings  ·  382 reviews
An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?"

To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and
Paperback, 427 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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 The Whole Golden World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Whole Golden World

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,756 ratings  ·  382 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Whole Golden World

Let me just start by saying- I am NOT a monster! I am capable of empathy. And I am THE person my friends call up when they have done something reeeeeally bad- because they know I won't judge them, but the characters in THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD were just not people I liked or sympathized with at all.

The novel is told from three women's POV-

The Women:

Dinah Monetti- Mother of three, and owner of "The Den" a coffee lounge and student hangout. Married to Joe Monetti- the absent father and Assistant
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is not a comfortable book to read but I found it relevant and intriguing. The story centers around Morgan, an honor student who feels stifled by the responsibilities of being a back-up mother to her 14 year old brothers who were born premature and fraternal twins. Morgan's mother has never recovered from the scare of almost losing them and may be a little on the hovering side. She expects Morgan to do the same when she (Dinah) can not be around at school.

Meanwhile, Dinah's husband, Joe, is
Dana ****Reads Alot****
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
What did I think? So much to really think about.A family torn apart in so many ways. Dinah the overbearing mother, Joe the never around assistance vice principle..twin boys who you would think are still toddlers the way Dinah caters to them but they are teeeeennnaggerrs. Not preemies anymore. geesh. Then there is Morgan who is a senior who has the weight on her shoulders of taking care of her brothers and helping with homework while mom runs her little cafe called The Den. All Morgan can think i ...more
Laura Kay Bolin
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews

What a book. We hear stories in the news way to often about teacher/student 'relationships' more often than we should. I went into this novel pretty open minded. I really wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure how everything would play out.

17 year old Morgan crushes on her Math teacher, TJ Hill. He is good looking, youngish, and the 'fun' teacher always there to listen and take an interest in his students. Morgan is mature and a good student. She has been
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Melodrama, and poorly executed melodrama. I didn't know that was possible.
Cliche, tinny characters, with a predictable soap opera story line.
Maybe my first clue as to what awaited me was reading that one of the main characters was named Rain. I blanched at the name immediately but set it aside as a nit going full in with an open mind. Nope. Not a nit.
A friend gave me this book. She has not read it yet. Perhaps I can save her the time.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'd give this book 4.25 Stars ;-) (Trying to be more critical!).

I read it because of an recommendation and it's just a topic that I like to read about in general. (Teacher & student relationship, no...I'm not a pervert :P)
At first I thought that this might be quite similar to other books in that genre and I was a bit taken aback because we get to know about the outcome of everything in the first chapter already. But, at the same time it's a book that's quite different.
First of all, the story is
Denise MacDonald
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read by Kristina Riggle and it was amazing. While touching on a very sensitive, controversial subject it was a great story. It was very well written and the characters were developed so well I felt like I knew them all. There was only one thing in the whole book that I didn't understand- DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE BOOK (view spoiler) ...more
Mama K
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Despite the fact I found the "teacher" in this book despicable and that I never found sympathy for the "girl" in the book and the "wife" of the "teacher' took too long to grow a pair, I absolutely LOVED this book. ...more
”’Sun will not be restrained
bursts the seam
of the sky
spilling beneath the ashen dome
setting alight the whole golden world”

As wide and varied as my reading tastes tend to be, I don’t tend to veer towards women’s fiction that often. Maybe because I’m not deemed ‘old enough’ to be reading that genre, but I’ve never had the urges or tendencies to read books of that nature. And when I do, they’re often chick-lity in form. But this book was surprisingly good. And with such sticky subject matters s
Ems. (afternoonbookery)
I picked this up after seeing it in a haul video, and i had high hopes for it. Telling the relationship of student/teacher affair , something of taboo topic, right up my street. So we start the story at the trial of the TJ(the teacher) and we travel back in time and learn of the events that led to the trial taking place. We see the narrative told through the eyes of three main characters. Morgan (the student) who to me, was an old soul and a very likeable character who just seemed a little lost ...more
Joy Matteson
2.5 stars. I feel like there are contemporary women authors who write about family drama to explore the worst, so that it won't happen to them. What if my daughter has sex with a teacher, but falls in love with him? What if that teacher doesn't get put away for good? Not that one should only read books where happy things happen to characters, but this one seemed steeped in melodrama. I found myself beyond annoyed with all the characters--the helicopter mom who has fits of rage with a school prin ...more
Misty Vauble
Actually 4.5 I cod not stop reading this when things allowed. That said I compare it to a train wreck. I didn't necessarily enjoy it in terms of entertainment , but I couldn't look away from what happened next. In all honestly I did not like any of the characters. I felt bad for Morgan at first but I eventually disliked her as well. I sincerely hope my younger brother does not resent me as she did her brothers.

TJ I wanted to take a long walk of a short bridge. He was just A selfish a** Raln well
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I want to give this 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read- I definitely did not want to put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime to read. My complaint is that most of the characters felt a little one-dimensional and sometimes the dialogue felt stifled and cliche. Honestly, it really didn't take away from the story for me, so I read on - and I hate to take away stars for that, because it might even be a 4 star book, but it is what it is. Either way, it's a great stor ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is another one of those books that I inexplicably CANNOT PUT DOWN. I can't say exactly what gets me so hooked: the view into the inner workings of the main characters' minds and lives? The scandalous, underage-love-triangle of the plot? The way the chapters alternate between viewpoints? I can't put my finger on it, but I had to read "The Whole Golden World" until the very end, no interruptions. I highly recommend it! ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
3.5 stars for sure. The whole time I was reading this I wanted some understanding of why, why did the teacher have the affair with the student and what's with the student? It seemed as though these characters had the some old usual flaws that are found in many stories. But towards the end of the story Morgan, the student said " people who get in trouble ever make any sense?" Well said. ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Sadly the story in in this book is reality for to many communities. Even my own community is dealing with this scandal in its High School. While reading this it becomes apparent that no one is innocent. Except for Rain, everyone shares some of the blame, TJ more than anyone. I found this to be a well written book depicting student/teacher relationships.
Christy Campbell
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As for the review, loved it, found it fascinating in a corrupt way and I read it in less than two days. The phrase "hot for teacher" is beyond true in this sense. I do think people would not be as interested however, if the disgraced teacher and his lovestruck student weren't so good looking. I believe that physical beauty makes quite a difference. ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
I have read other books by this author and to be honest good stories but average in any standing out kind of way. Now this one I say is her best work yet. This delivers a thought provoking engrossing tale of right and wrong and all the on between that happens based on choices. Adult choices and teenagers who think they are mature in their choices.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
2.5, really. Gah. It took me a year to finish it. I don't think I've ever rolled my eyes as much as I did while reading this book. The author could've cut a third of it without hurting the story at all. Too many errors, too many narrative voices, too many unnecessary details. Eh. I'm underwhelmed. ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down.

All of the characters were quite flawed, which definitely made it more realistic for me, and I loved witnessing the women's character development throughout even though they all made me crazy at times!

Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Not astonishing as advertised, but instead makes me agree with the relatively low average rating. The synopsis is a drama that I was drawn to: a reckless affair between a high-school student and her teacher and the devastating aftermath (trial) of it. The story is told in a third-person narrative from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Morgan, her mother and the teacher's wife. It also poses some interesting questions about the culpability of the young teacher and the morality of their action ...more
Beth Lind
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A teacher has an affair with a 17 year old student (who technically is of the age of consent but legally unacceptable because of the teacher-student relationship) and the fallout is huge for everyone. The book is a bit long but it’s good.
Shannon Davis
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
2.76. Would have been better if the characters were actually likeable. Also, very anticlimactic which is sometimes fine but not in this case.
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Well written and compelling story about family, love and strength
The Whole Golden World was a very moving and engrossing read from the start. The book managed to tell a “ripped from the headlines” story with emotion, heart, and hope. Many times books with multiple points of views have been a hit or miss with me, with one point of view or voice endearing themselves to me more so than the others leading to an imbalance in the entertainment factor of the book. However, Kristina Riggle handled the three points of view, Dinah (the mother), Morgan (the daughter) an ...more
Carrie Ardoin
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read that deals with the subject of a student/teacher affair, but I must say this one resonated with me a lot more. Though there were a wide cast of characters in the novel, I think any given reader could find themselves identifying with not just one, but several of those affected by the actions of the affair.

I think what I appreciated most about this novel is that each and every one of the characters was just so human. From Morgan, the 17 year old who feels not good
Sue Seligman
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a story taken right from recent headlines. A young girl becomes romantically involved with her math teacher and the events surrounding this situation comprise the progression of this novel. The reader learns about the issues in girl's family; her younger twin brothers are experiencing learning and behavioral issues as high school freshmen, her dad is the assistant principal in her school, and her mother is trying to keep her coffee shop catering to teens afloat in the community. Morgan h ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
For a long time, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t get into the story. It seemed another of those family relationship-stories that I’ve just read too many of. But after about 100 pages, I started to become interested in the characters and I wanted to know more about them and what would happen in the story.

The whole sordid story, who enjoys that? A teacher and his pupil having a relationship, then, when it comes out, him denying it while she maintains they love each other. In the court room she s
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this after listening to a podcast on Book Club Girl, in which the author was interviewed. She came to write this book after reading a headline in her local paper (she lives in Grand Rapids, Mi) about a teacher who pled guilty to having sex with a 17 year old student who was 18 at the time of the court proceedings. Starting there, she writes a fictional account based in the town of Arbor Valley, Mi ( Ann Arbor? Huron Valley? Who knows!) The book is written from multiple points of view, the ...more
Debbie Evancic
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I found this book very slow in the beginning, but much more intriguing as I read on. Dinah, an over zealous and protective mother and Joe, as assistant principal at a high school, seem like a normal family. They have two boys, who are both experiencing physical or educational deficiencies (due to early births), and as they concentrate on them, their oldest girl, Morgan, whom they trust completely and never check up on, gets herself in a jam. Their world falls apart when their daughter has an aff ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Empty Nest
  • A Good Hard Look
  • The Cast
  • Unspeakable Things
  • One Night at the Lake
  • Her Perfect Lies
  • The Last Affair
  • Once Night Falls
  • Wrapped Up in You
  • The Three Mrs. Wrights
  • Mulberry Bay: A Novel
  • All the Right Mistakes
  • The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense
  • The Book of Two Ways
  • Margaret's Story (Florida Trilogy, #3)
  • On Ocean Boulevard (Beach House #6)
  • The Paper Daughters of Chinatown
  • Under Your Skin
See similar books…
Kristina Riggle lives in West Michigan, where she writes character-driven novels about complex personal dynamics. Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was a Target "Breakout" pick and a "Great Lakes, Great Reads" selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. Her latest novel, Vivian in Red, is a story of 1930s Broadway and today about a lyricist, the clouded history of his most ...more

Related Articles

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a high...
75 likes · 9 comments
“Love is hard to find and easy to lose, same as anything small and precious.” 1 likes
“Love isn’t always fireworks and rainbows. Mature love is quieter, but it’s there.” 0 likes
More quotes…