THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

REVIEWS

The Good House
Tananarive Due
Atria Books / Trade Paperback
ISBN: 0743449002

  

  When Angela Marie Toussaint, her husband Tariq, and son Corey return to her childhood home for a "family reunion" and a Fourth of July BBQ, all seems right with the world for a change.  The reader is immediately clued into the fact that Angela and her husband have been estranged for sometime and this disconnect has had an effect on their son Corey.  A seemingly sensitive child, Corey's erratic behavior catches his mother off guard but not so much so that she believes anything besides growing pains are affecting her son.

In fact, for Angela, the world seems a little brighter when her high school boyfriend and first love Myles pays her a surprise visit.  His presence stimulates a wave of emotion that briefly distracts her from her seemingly perfect reconnection with her estranged husband. She quickly recalls the first time they made love at The Spot and how no man, including her husband had ever been so tender and loving towards her.  She is filled with fond memories and silent lust until a popping sound, which Angela initially thinks is the sound of firecrackers, interrupts the festivities, shatters the family, and unleashes a frantic search for answers.

               The novel relies heavily on the concept that things are not quite as they seem. In fact, the title of the novel and the name of Angela's grandmother's home, The Good House, are ironic given the home holds anything but good memories for Angela.   This point immediately sticks out when you learn of the tragic death of Angela's own mother in the kitchen of the home some decades prior to Corey's suicide there on July 4th. Angela's marriage is also a casualty of the house, as the pair suffers an irreparable rift upon Corey's death using a handgun Tariq supposedly sold at a pawnbroker sometime before the incident. Later in the novel, you learn of her grandmother's loss of two husbands, not to mention neighbors and friends who suffer once they've come in contact with the house.

Constructed through a series of flashbacks and present day account, the reader gets a glimpse into the minds of the central characters before and after Corey's suicide. 

In essence, the reader is told the why of Corey's death and the murder of others, which Angela so desperately looks for before finding out.   This knowledge incites the reader to want to save Angela from her fate.  Much like patrons in a horror movie theater, the reader is given a complete picture and wants to yell out, "Don't go in there," or "Run, girl, get out of there," before anything can happen to Angela.  And, much like in the movie experience, the reader must continue page after page, helpless to change Angela's actions.

One voice that rises above all others in the novel, which echoes the sentiment of readers, is Naomi Priceís.  Naomi, a starlet on the rise and client of Angela's, is silenced by the curse before she can convince Angela that the Good House is not good at all.  Suffering a fate of like that of Dorothy Strattan and Rebecca Schaeffer, Naomi's star is halted at her peek and she will forever be "beautiful for prosperity."

A cross between the Exorcist and Eve's Bayou, the combination voodoo magic and possession will keep viewers flipping the 480 pages until the very end to see how Angela can rise from the curse of her ancestors.  Although the house in this novel may not truly be good, there is good character development, a good plot and a good conclusion that add to the flow in The Good House.


MTamanika (Nika) C. Beamon
Currently, she is Writer/Producer for WABC-TV Eyewitness News in New York.
In June 2000, she published her first novel, Dark Recesses. In November 2002, she published her second novel, Eyewitness.