Book Review of All the Best People

All the Best People
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All the Best People is a new novel by Sonja Yoerg is the story of Carole LaPorte and her family. Carole is forty-four years old, married and has three children. Lately, Carole has been having trouble concentrating and she has been hearing things (that people are mocking her, talking behind her back, the cat is evil). Carole is afraid to tell her husband about her troubles for fear of ending up in Underhill State Hospital like her mother, Solange Gifford. Alison, Carole's daughter, can tell something is wrong with her mother, but no one will listen to her. She tries to find another way to help her mother. Alison is becoming a young woman and needs her mother's love and guidance. Janine, Carole's younger sister, is a widow and has her eyes on Greg Bayliss, Alison's teacher, as her new husband. Then April Honeycutt, the new special education teacher, and Greg start spending time together. Janine is not going to let April take away her prize. Solange has been in Underhill since she was thirty-four years old. Her husband, Osborn had her committed after the birth of Janine leaving the girls in the care of his sisters. Carole continues to get worse and starts withdrawing from her family. Pick up All the Best People to find out what happens with Carole, how Solange ended up in Underhill, and if Janine gets her man.

All the Best People shows how mental illness can affect a family and not just one generation. The story is told from Carole, Janine, Alison, and Solange's point-of-view. The book takes us back to when Solange agreed to marry Osborn. Solange came from river people in Burlington, Vermont and Osborn from the upper class. This pairing is doomed right from the beginning. A trial case of Ploof v. Putnam divides Osborn and Carole as well as the citizens of Burlington. The changing viewpoints made it difficult to get into the story. I wish the story had been told from third person. The pace of the book slowed down considerably during Solange's story which I did not enjoy. How Solange ended up in Underhill was a necessary part of the story. However, it was predictable by delving into the division of the classes. I knew where the story would go as soon as the read that Solange and Osborn were from different sections of town. I give All the Best People 2 out of 5 stars. The book is full of unlikeable characters. The only person I found endearing was Lester. I found information to be repeated often throughout the story and the ending was a letdown. A blue box and a pearl figure prominently into the story, but I did not get why (except to represent water). The blurb for the story hints at magic, but the only magic is Alison reading spells from books (there was a definite lack of supervision). I was never able to get into the All the Best People. I did like some of the references to shows and items from the 70s (I was a little girl in the 70s). The author handles the serious issue of mental illness very well. She showed how mental illness was treated in the late 30s and in the 70s. All the Best People was not the right novel for me, but I do recommend Ms. Yoerg's House Broken.