A Good American

A Good American

by Alex George

Overview: This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. It’s where his German grandparents—Frederick and Jette—found themselves after journeying across the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being brought to a sudden halt by the broken water of the pregnant Jette.

A Good American tells of Jette’s dogged determination to feed a town sauerkraut and soul food; the loves and losses of her children, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, sometimes raised in discord…sometimes in perfect harmony.

But above all, A Good American is about the music in Frederick’s heart, a song that began as an aria, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country that the family still hears to this day.

Elaine Marlin (02/25/19): This wonderful novel was written in 2012 by an author who moved to the United States in 2003. He was a lawyer in England. He lives in Missouri. He is the author of another book written later, Setting Free the Kites, which is also quite well written! A Good American is narrated by the grandson of a young couple from Hanover, Germany, who in 1904, for a specific reason, decide to move to America. The beginning of the book describes their trials and tribulations, learning the culture, deciding where to set down roots, and how to earn money as they become part of America. Subsequent generations are also written about, very competently, with humor and subtlety. His style and capable and breathtaking wording paint a picture of how life was, and how people dealt with tragedies, and love. At the end of one chapter, I cried through three pages. I highly recommend this very well written novel!

Rating: *****

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