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The Best Kind of People

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  9,190 Ratings  ·  1,243 Reviews
A timely novel about an accusation against a beloved schoolteacher and the repercussions on his loved ones, exploring issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

George Woodbury, a celebrated teacher, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between
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Hardcover, 448 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Ballantine Books (first published August 27th 2016)
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Angie I felt like it needed to be one of two things: Either flesh out that last chapter or two into 4 - 5 chapters, or leave a lot of it out. It felt like…moreI felt like it needed to be one of two things: Either flesh out that last chapter or two into 4 - 5 chapters, or leave a lot of it out. It felt like the author said, "Oh wow...I need to wrap up the Holly story...and the Teresa story...and...and," and then stuffed it all up in one big "everything burger". And it was going so good...right until then.(less)

Community Reviews

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Larry H
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'm between 3 and 3.5 stars here.

"When someone is your husband or father, that's simply who they are. You don't stop to question much about them, unless you're given reason to, and they'd never been given reason to."

The Woodbury family is well known in their suburban Connecticut town; in fact, the family has lived there for years and the Woodbury home is a fixture in the neighborhood. About 10 years ago, George, a popular science teacher at the town's prep school, thwarted a gunman who came into
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Margot
Oct 10, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm afraid I really don't understand the hype surrounding this book. It has a great premise and starts off well, but after that it's all downhill. While I did finish it, I found myself rolling my eyes often at the overblown writing and clichéd characters. It was hard to get any real sense of the family members as individuals, and impossible to feel any empathy for any of them. The ending was very unsatisfactory, and it felt like she just decided it was time to wrap things up.
Fran
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
George Woodbury, science teacher extraordinaire, lives in Woodbury Lake in one of twelve lakefront properties developed by his father. George is well respected, a pillar of the community. The neighborhood is idyllic and scandal free. Son Andrew has graduated from Avalon Hills Prep. School, the school his younger sister Sadie now attends. George has attained superhero status. A recently disinherited son of a wealthy businessman entered the school welding a shotgun. George tackled him to the groun ...more
Cheri
!! NOW AVAILABLE !!

2.75 Stars

“If only she could have the privilege of believing him entirely. What kind of person, what kind of ungrateful daughter, doesn’t believe her own father? She had never doubted him before. She never thought he was anything but moral and civilized. She wasn’t even sure what those words meant. But if someone puts the possibility of something terrible in your head—and people around you believe it—you can’t go back to thinking it completely inconceivable. The possibility i
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Carol
2.5 Stars. Am sorry to say THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE did not work for me.

IT ALL BEGINS with an enticing prologue! Science teacher George Woodbury saves the day when he tackles a gunman at the academy averting what could have been a major disaster....with many lives lost.

BUT....life as a hero takes a turn for the worse when George is accused of sexual misconduct of four minors on a school sponsored ski trip. Everyone is shocked and family chaos sets in, but the story flatlines here (for me) as it l

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Crumb
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Very timely too. Unfortunately, we live in a society where rape culture is very prevalent and that was basically what this book was about. It was also about what a family has a to deal with when one of their own gets arrested and branded a sexual predator.

When I give a book above three stars it is because the book held my attention. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to the characters next. The most interesting character development I thought, took place with Sadie,
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Alexa
Fuck. I should not have finished this at 1am. My mind is racing, I have no idea how I'm going to go to sleep.

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The Best Kind of People is like a train wreck - you want to look away, but you just can't (in a good way). It covers the very serious topic of rape-culture; which is dealt with and analyzed very thoughtfully and realistically. Whittall's novel focuses on George Woodbury who is now the small town's hero since saving the local prep school from a shooter.
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Carrie
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
George Woodbury is a loving father and husband but became highly respected in his community when a few years before he'd stopped a gunman in the school where he taught. Now however things have taken a horrid turn for George when the police arrived on his doorstep, placed him under arrest and began searching his family's home. George has been accused of sexual impropriety with the young women at the prep school.

George's arrest has left behind his wife Joan who is torn between denial and outrage
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Sarah Joint
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book so much I actually stretched it out a little bit so I could be involved in it for longer. It's definitely not a feel-good read, but it's finely crafted and I was so involved with the story and each and every character. I'm disappointed that I let it languish on my shelf unread for so long. It's emotionally gripping and very timely, dealing with what happens when a pillar of the community is accused of being a sexual predator. When a lot of us think of sexual predators, we stil ...more
Erin
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Becky
*Minor spoilers are in my review *

I received this book as a birthday gift from my best friend, but it wasn't until I heard the news that one of my favorite Canadian "celebs" actress/director, Sarah Polley, expressed a plan to develop the book to screen that the book moved up on my priority list. "The Best Kind of People " chooses to lay its focus on the family of accused sexual offender, decorated teacher, George Woodbury. George 's wife, Joan, daughter, Sadie, and son, Andrew take center stage
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Liz
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Funny how things can change in an instant. The police show up at midnight on Sadie’s 17th birthday and arrest her father for sexual impropriety with three high school girls while on a ski trip. This book drew me in immediately. It tackles how each member of the family grapples with the situation and how the community deals with them.

I immediately bonded with the family. The author does a great job of capturing the confusion, that whole back and forth about what to believe. What is a good person
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Mackey St
You think your family is perfect and that nothing will happen to it - until the unthinkable does happen and suddenly you are forced to look at your family, your friends, those you love and trusted through a completely different lens.

While many reviews of Whittall's shocking novel, "The Best Kind of People," focus on the current state of the "rape culture" in American society, for me this was a tale of yet another dysfunctional American family. The rape - whatever your thoughts on guilt or innoc
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Krista
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, can-con
For months Joan would replay this moment, trying to decipher the look on her husband’s face. Was it guilt? Confusion? Indignation? Stoicism? Acting? But nothing, not even a revolving camera of omniscience, a floating momentary opportunity to narrate, would allow anyone to truly understand the truth about George. He became a hard statue, an obstacle, a symbol.

I don't think I quite get the hype about The Best Kind of People: sure, discussions on rape culture are timely, and whether we're talkin
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Véronique
I was thrilled by the first half--make it maybe two-thirds--of the book (it started as a powerful straight punch) but eventually i felt disappointed. The ending was a big let-down for me, not particularly because of what happens, but rather because of how it's written. Whereas the first few chapters span over a few days, the final chapters don't have the minutiae of the beginning, and the epilogue sums up several months (i hate epilogues!) in a couple of paragraphs. I noticed that several people ...more
Rebecca Foster
This is a decent issues book with an absorbing plot. It asks you to join the members of this preppy Connecticut community in holding in mind two seemingly conflicting ideas: that George Woodbury is a good guy, a hero – the mild-mannered science teacher who saved his daughter from a school shooter – but also, possibly, a repeat sex offender. It reminded me a fair bit of Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves (lake house, teens, misconduct of various kinds) and Emma Cline’s The Girls (ditto for those ...more
Theresa Alan
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel starts out strong. When George Woodbury, a respected teacher, is arrested for sexual misconduct with minors and attempted rape of a minor, the lives of his wife of nearly thirty years and his children, Andrew, a lawyer, and seventeen-year-old Sadie, are torn in pieces.

The arrest divides the town of Avalon and the private school where George teaches and Sadie is a senior. It was hard reading the stuff from the men’s rights group, who think women make up rape charges when sex didn’t go
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Amanda McGill
Feb 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2017
I was really excited to read The Best Kind of People. The blurb sounded great and the very few chapters were really interesting. But then the unlikable characters and boring story line took over. I couldn't wait to finish this novel just to get it over with. By the end I didn't care if George was guilty or innocent because I didn't know him at all as a character.

Wouldn't recommend.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a very timely novel! What if one of the men accused of sexual assault was your husband or father? Whittall explores how much we can believe those we love, what happens when trust is shattered, and how difficult it is to find the truth. I think fans of Celeste Ng and Liane Moriarty would enjoy this in particular.

Thanks to the publisher for providing access through NetGalley.
Jennifer Blankfein
Reminiscent to The Widow of Wall Street which was the story based on Bernie Madoff, where the husband was accused of wronging the community unbeknownst to the wife and children...The Best Kind of People focuses on a guy who has been accused of being a sex predator and how it affects the family and the community, leading to the downfall of relationships and spirit in a small town.

Visit my blog Book Nation by Jen https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com for all my recommendations.
AnisaAnne
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
You can also read my reviews on WP: https://anisabookreviews.wordpress.co...

Solid 3.5 Stars rounded to 4

George Woodbury is a local teacher in at Avalon Prep School and local hero. He would be Teacher of the Year for the next ten years for stopping a shooter at the school, saving hundreds of children. But when he starts to receive cryptic notes, no one can foresee the whirlwind which will determine his ultimate fate. George Woodbury, accused of sexual impropriety of four high school students, is
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Candace Green
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You’ll probably like it if: You’re ok with pondering whether you ever really know someone, you’re aware of the pervasiveness of rape culture, you enjoy stories about families coping in difficult circumstances.

You should probably skip it if: You prefer feel good stories, you like books with a single point of view, you hate ambiguity, you prefer a clear, likeable protagonist, you like more typical crime novels.

If you told me you absolutely loved this book, I would understand. If you told me you
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Alex
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/5

I really wanted to like this book more. Whittall certainly chose a really ambitious topic, delving into how an upper middle class all-american family deals (or fails to deal with) accusations of sexual impropriety against the patriarch. Whittall thrusts us into the psychological earthquakes that all the other family members deal with, while also tackling the issues of rape culture, how our society treats accusers and how those guilty of sexual assault are rarely prosecuted let alone convict
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Lorna
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Almost didn't bother finishing it. It had potential to be really good. But the characters were all self absorbed and not entirely believable. The crime story line was boring and forgotten. What started as a story that might have me flipping back and forth between is he guilty or not, left me not caring at all.
Alex
May 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start off by saying that I normally find some good parts within books. But with this book, that is not the case. I absolutely despised this book.

Right from the beginning it left a sour taste in my mouth. A rich, white, privileged male is convicted of attempted rape of minors in a rich, white town. He is a ~town hero~ so no one could ever even begin to believe that he could have done something like this. Fine, I'll buy that part, it's trying to tackle contemporary issues. But the way that
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Karen M
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
As tough as the book's subject matter is, I couldn't peel my eyes away from it. The central question -- how would you react if your loved one is accused of doing a terrible thing? -- is so compelling that I kept thinking about the book when I did reluctantly put it down between chapters. I admire Whittall for not choosing the easy route... the book, while tough, is just so human. I'm happy to see it longlisted for the Giller Prize; it would definitely be a great book club book.
Marialyce
A man who is trusted, a husband who is cherished, a father who is loved, a teacher who saved the school, and then imagine this very same hero being accused of being a sexual predator.

George Woodbury is a denizen of his community. He is wealthy, charming, and someone who is looked up to as a pillar of society. That all seems to be crashing down when George is arrested on charges of sexual impropriety with girls he had taken on an overnight ski trip. George's family is devastated and each member
...more
Bam
*2.5 stars rounded up.

This book starts out strongly with George Woodbury, a local hero and highly respected Teacher of the Year for several years running, being arrested for 'impropriety and attempted rape' of female students during an overnight ski trip. The legal concept of 'innocent until proven guilty' seems to no longer be honored in today's court of public opinion and in this small wealthy town, George and his family quickly become pariahs. The judge decides that George is a flight risk a
...more
Kasa Cotugno
On one level, this reminded me of the work of Jodi Picoult. There is a plot "ripped from the headlines," and the bulk of the book attends more to the collateral damage inflicted on the family/friends of the central character. Familiar Picoult territory. But, unlike Picoult, Whittall does not flesh those characters out with any sense of originality. Momentum was stalled and sometimes stopped in its tracks by unending descriptions of clothing (fabric as well as color - do we really need to know th ...more
MaryannC.Book Fiend
2.75 Stars

Initially this had me hook, line and sinker in the beginning chapters, but this emotionally charged story of George Woodbury who was once hailed the town hero for stopping a school shooter became a bit tedious towards the later part of the book. George Woodbury, his wife Joan and their two children, grown son Andrew and teenager Sadie have lived a privileged life in a small town called Avalon Hills. They have an idyllic life in a generations old family home until one day allegations of
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St Paul Municipal...: The Best Kind of People 1 5 Mar 15, 2018 07:46PM  
Write Reads Podcast: Write Reads #45 The Best Kind of People 1 29 Nov 07, 2016 04:55PM  
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Zoe Whittall's latest novel, The Best Kind of People, spent 26 consecutive weeks on the Globe bestseller list, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, was Indigo Best Book of the Year, Heather's Pick, Globe and Mail Best Book, Toronto Life Best Book of 2016, Walrus Magazine Best Book of 2016 . The film/TV rights have been optioned by Sarah Polley who will write and direct. She has two previous nove ...more
More about Zoe Whittall

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“When someone is your husband or father, that’s simply who they are. You don’t stop to question much about them, unless you’re given reason to, and they’d never been given reason to.” 1 likes
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