Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.
But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.
An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.
All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg is an entertaining and very compelling story of family – the good, the bad, and everything in between. She also helps us gain a better understanding of what mental illness is and what it is not.
This book is told from the perspective of 4 female characters from 3 different decades. Carole is having trouble remembering things, is hearing voices in her head, and is afraid to tell anyone. Janine is Carole’s sister who has recently lost her husband and is ready to move on with her life and find love once again. Carole’s daughter Alison is in the 6th grade and she loves to look up words in the dictionary. Alison is very concerned about her mother. Finally, we hear from Carole and Janine’s mother Solange, who is a permanent resident of Underhill State Hospital.
The book moves from the 1970’s to the 1920’s, then back to the 1970’s. I was really happy that we got to learn Solange’s story: how she met her husband, the birth of her children, and how she ended up at Underhill State Hospital. I really enjoy when authors use real life situations and weave them into a fictional book. I always walk away feeling like I learned a little something. Be sure to read the Author’s Note in the back to see how Sonja Yoerg has done that in this story.
I think Sonja Yoerg did a terrific job bringing mental illness issues to the forefront. There are discussion questions in the back of the book to help bring forth a dialogue about mental illness as well as a number of other issues in the book, like class conflict, betrayal, and so on. There is a stigma that can attach itself to mental illness and I hope this book can help bridge that. If just one person reaches out for help as a result of reading this book, then in my eyes I consider this book a success.
Thank you First to Read for an opportunity to read and give my honest opinion about this book.
My Rating: 5/5
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: 5/2/2017
Pages: 368 (eBook)