The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Setting: Connecticut
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Author: Zoe Whittall
Release Date: September 19, 2017 (Hardcover)

George Woodbury comes from a prominent Connecticut family. His wife, daughter, and son enjoy their life in the family estate where old money makes sure they're comfortable. George is also an honored member of the town thanks to his heroic actions when a shooter ended the school where he's a science teacher. He tackled the shooter right before the shooter shot Sadie, George's daughter.

Years later, the unbelievable happens. Four girls come forward and say George raped them or was sexually suggestive during a ski trip he chaperoned. He's arrested and held without bail until trial.

Sadie, his daughter, finds her life at school changes drastically. She's now scorned as the daughter of a pedophile. She goes from being the popular valedictorian prospect to hated by almost everyone. Her older brother escaped the town years ago, but now he's forced to return to a town where he never fit in. George's wife, a respected nurse, also finds herself the target of hatred. Many people can't understand how could she not have known.

The Best Kind of People looks at the case and the family that's now left behind to pick up the pieces as they struggle with the accusations being thrown at them.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Talk about a book that gets to the gritty details of how a family gets torn apart because of the media. The trial hadn't even taken place and the family was being threatened, insulted, harrassed, and more. I truly felt their pain each time a car was egged, another threat came in via cell phone or landline, and media hounded them at the end of their driveway. I became angry reading The Best Kind of People.

That said, I also found myself upset with some character's actions. The ending still niggles at me. I'm not sure I liked how it turns out. For a family that's being torn apart, the level of forgiveness is almost unbelievable at times. I don't want to go into details, but Sadie is one area where I got upset. Her actions at one point are no better than what she's been so angry about with her dad.

RTR's Bottom Line

The torment this family goes through was real. The pain each family member feels came through brilliantly. George really is a minor character. You don't get much input from him at all, so you don't know what really happened. That made the book unusual to me. You're kept in the dark in terms of what happened on that ski trip. The story is more about the impact of the impending trial.

The Best Kind of People isn't a bad read. I found it quite engrossing. There were aspects that bugged me, but I don't want to go into too much depth as spoilers are sure to happen. It really came down to me thinking the mom is the strongest character and the others bugged me.


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