A Perfectly Good Family

  • by Lionel Shriver
  • Narrated by Susan Ericksen
  • 13 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Following the death of her worthy liberal parents, Corlis McCrea moves back into her family's grand Reconstruction mansion in North Carolina, willed to all three siblings. Her timid younger brother has never left home. When her bullying black-sheep older brother moves into "his" house as well, it's war.Each heir wants the house. Yet to buy the other out, two siblings must team against one. Just as in girlhood, Corlis is torn between allying with the decent but fearful youngest and the iconoclastic eldest, who covets his legacy to destroy it. A Perfectly Good Family is a stunning examination of inheritance, literal and psychological: what we take from our parents, what we discard, and what we are stuck with, like it or not.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"Po-TAH-toes"?!

I am a Lionel Shriver fan, and this book, while good enough, is not up to "We Need To Talk About Kevin". The story's premise is promising - three siblings attempting to dispose of the family estate, with none of them having enough funding to buy the others out. However I missed the added layer of computers, internet, email, cell phones and texting, that books written before 1994, or "B.C.", i.e. "Before Personal Computers" conspicuously lack. There is the usual variety of distorted personalities, most of them interesting, compelling and amusing, with plenty of quirks and glitches, but the narrative style seems artificially antiquated, and this book feels much older than it is. I kept imagining a "Gone With The Wind" setting, rather than North Carolina circa 1993. Still, it's a good story, and the author's facility with dimensional characterization is evident. I did think she could have done more with the protagonist, however, IMO the only really likable individual in the story.

My low rating of 2 stars is mainly for the narration, which I thought was overly dramatic and shrill. And...I have never ever heard "potatoes" pronounced "po-tah-toes". The pronunciation made me laugh out loud! Narration should err on the side of the majority of listeners, and I would guess there are very few out there who pronounce the typical tuber with a long "a".

On balance, it's a good listen, excellent picaresque entertainment, and I recommend it - even though it's not quite up to my personal standards.
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- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Get a life!

this book is like one long whine!!! I just wanted to scream "Get A Life!". It was actually painful to hear and I would imagine just as painful to read. We read it for my book group and one other woman said no one should ever have to read this book. I think it holds the top spot as the all time WORST book I have ever read/listened to.
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- Marny

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-02-2009
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio