We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

We Are All Good People Here
by
Susan Rebecca White

Rating:

What’s the best way to make things right? From within the system or something more drastic? This story about friendship and social change begins in 1962 when Daniella Gold and Eve Whalen become roommates at Belmont College in Roanoke, Virginia. Eve, a future debutante, is from a wealthy family in Atlanta and at home with the established southern ways. Daniella is half-Jewish and from a middle class family in Washington, D.C. Despite their differences, they become fast friends.

The girls begin their journey down widening paths when they learn about their dormitory maid’s hours and living conditions. Eve, despite having a black maid at home, is appalled and feels she must act immediately. Daniella, a careful thinker, thinks there are better ways to help. This is the first of many moments with surprise results that cause friction in the young women’s friendship.

We Are All Good People Here spans thirty years of ups and downs. Set in Virginia, New York and Atlanta, during a period of protests about racial inequality and the Vietnam War, Eve and Daniella both believe they can make a difference. While Daniella prefers to work through the system, Eve hooks up with groups that are ready to take action, and as time passes, becomes more radical in her beliefs as she aligns with violent revolutionaries.

Chasms widen and are then bridged as Eve and Daniella become mothers. Good times are peppered with tragedy and loss, with new pressures on their friendship. Throughout, White’s characters suffer, rebound and emerge in different ways.

While I enjoyed reading this historical novel, I felt the characters were flat and stereotyped, playing second fiddle to the author’s attempt at including as many historical references as she could. That said, I learned a few new things about this time period. I just felt it could have been better balanced.

I also thought the cover was misleading. I enjoyed the optical illusion and was attracted to the book right away, but I did not see how the image, which seems very modern, related to the story.

We Are All Good People is a fast read and highlights an important period of American history and social change.

Want more reviews? Here’s one reader who loved it and one who felt the same as I did. Check them out!

“An extraordinary book that spans generations, explores momentous times in American history, and gives readers a in-depth look into complex family relationships.” We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White @SimonSchusterCA #HistoricalFiction #Review #BookBlogger

We Are All Good People Here By Susan Rebecca White Demonstrates Her Spectacular Historical Research… But What Happened To The Story? ARC Review- Released 8/6

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11 thoughts on “We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

    1. I was attracted to the book because of the long friendship and because I like sagas. I did learn a couple things, though, so it’s all good! Thanks for the visit, Jill. Hope that grilled dinner was yummy! Cold and rainy here today :0

    1. Hi Jennifer – book reviews like this are tough because I don’t want to be too negative. But I do believe that a book blogger can show an opinion because over time, readers will understand the blogger’s tastes and personality. I’d say it was an okay read – good for light and casual reading, which I do enjoy doing. The cover is fantastic – I bought the eBook for our library collection at work and I was curious about reading it. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

  1. I think sometimes when an author is trying to make a point, to be particularly true to a period of time, the over all story suffers, usually from lack of realistic characterization. It sounds as if that is what happened with this book…and least in the opinion of some of the reviewers.

    1. Hi Robbie, yes there were interesting historical facts about segregation and protest groups during the 60s and 70s (I was just a kid back then so I wasn’t aware when they were happening), but it’s tricky to blend the two things together. A little less history might have made the characters come out more. Thanks for the visit and for commenting. 🙂

  2. “… playing second fiddle to the author’s attempt at including as many historical references as she could.” This is a pet peeve of mine! That and using newspaper headlines or discussions of news stories to do this. I also dislike covers that don’t convey the truth! Good review–I would likely have read this and felt much the same, I’m sure.

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