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 denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while grappling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep on with their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores the irrevocable damage of an accusation—not on the man accused, but on the family who have built their lives around him.
As is usual with my association with the NetGalley community, today I’m sharing about a book that I have had the opportunity to read and review that I would have otherwise never heard about. I had never heard of the book, The Best Kind of People, nor the author, Zoe Whittall. The cover intrigued me and I was looking forward to reading it without knowing the subject matter contained therein.
Here’s a link to an excerpt of the book in case you want to dig right in: EXCERPT HERE.
George Woodbury is a science professor at a prestigious local prep school in Avalon Hills, Connecticut. He was a Teacher of the Year recipient, a husband to wife, Joan, who is an emergency room nurse. They’ve raised their children in this town and he’s a pillar of society……
….. and then things change when he is arrested and accused of sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. His family is left trying to figure out whether or not they believe he could be guilty of such a crime. The author goes through each family member’s perspective as they await Professor Woodbury’s trial, however, readers do not hear the perspective of the victims.
His daughter, Sadie, who is a popular high school senior suddenly becomes a social outcast. His wife, Joan, bounces from denial and anger as former friends and neighbors cut off their relationships with her. Sadie’s brother, Andrew, comes home from New York where is a lawyer so he can help support the family.
The author really lets you come to your own decisions about how our justice system handles these types of cases. It was interesting to see how the author chose to tell this story from the family of the accused. I think this would be a great read for a book club – they’d certainly have quite a discussion on this subject matter!
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 novels and three collections of poetry, and has written for the televisions shows Degrassi, Schitt’s Creek, and The Baroness Von Sketch Show. She won the KM Hunter award for literature, and a Lamda Literary award for her second novel, Holding Still for as Long as Possible. Her debut, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named one of the top ten novels of the decade by CBC Canada Reads, and one of the Best Books of 2007 by The Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire magazine. She has published three books of poetry, Precordial Thump, (exile, 08) The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (McGilligan Books, 01) and The Emily Valentine Poems (Snare Books, 06.) The Globe and Mail called her “the cockiest, brashest, funniest, toughest, most life-affirming, elegant, scruffy, no-holds-barred writer to emerge from Montreal since Mordecai Richler…”. She was born in South Durham, Quebec, resided in Montreal during the early 1990s and has lived in Toronto since 1997.
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing – Ballantine Books for providing a digital copy of The Best Kind of People for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.