All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

All the Best People

An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken...Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhoo...

Title:All the Best People
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399583491
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:368 pages

All the Best People Reviews

  • Barbara White
    Jun 30, 2016

    Told through the voices of three generations of women, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a gripping novel about my favorite topic: the impact of mental illness on families. Set in Vermont in the 1930s and 1970s, it deals with betrayal and shame, acceptance and unconditional love. Carole's slow descent into schizophrenia is so beautifully crafted that I felt every moment of her journey through her own, private hell. And the ending? Perfect. The writing is stellar--so many great lines--but I think this is my

    Told through the voices of three generations of women, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a gripping novel about my favorite topic: the impact of mental illness on families. Set in Vermont in the 1930s and 1970s, it deals with betrayal and shame, acceptance and unconditional love. Carole's slow descent into schizophrenia is so beautifully crafted that I felt every moment of her journey through her own, private hell. And the ending? Perfect. The writing is stellar--so many great lines--but I think this is my favorite:"What is in your blood matters, but not as much as what is in your heart." Book clubs are going to love this one!

  • Christine
    Jul 10, 2016

    I have now read three novels (all stand-alones) authored by Ms. Yoerg, and each one is so different from the others. I love seeing this versatility, especially since the quality of her work remains high no matter what she writes about.

    All the Best People is a moving family drama with a lot of emphasis on mental health issues. I cannot find it in me to call it women’s fiction, let alone chick lit. To me, this is closer to literary fiction than anything else. Ms. Yoerg’s prose is outstanding. Her

    I have now read three novels (all stand-alones) authored by Ms. Yoerg, and each one is so different from the others. I love seeing this versatility, especially since the quality of her work remains high no matter what she writes about.

    All the Best People is a moving family drama with a lot of emphasis on mental health issues. I cannot find it in me to call it women’s fiction, let alone chick lit. To me, this is closer to literary fiction than anything else. Ms. Yoerg’s prose is outstanding. Her descriptive passages and imagery, though not as overwhelmingly prevalent as seen in a lot of literary fiction (a good thing in my opinion), are easy to read and very effective, setting the scenes beautifully.

    We are presented the story of three generations of one family, mostly from the women’s points of view. The tale is told over a span ranging from 1927 to 1973. The chapters alternate from one generation to the next, but don’t skip around so much as to hinder the flow. The pace is excellent, particularly over the last two-thirds of the book, after a bit of a slow start due to the setup.

    Mental health issues take center stage. It’s obvious Ms. Yoerg has done her research on these topics. As a physician I found these scenes rang true. I especially loved the arc featuring 10-year-old Alison who tries her very best to survive as everything in her life is progressively falling apart. If I had to break down the plot into simple words, I would say that it is basically a journey of self-discovery as to what makes a person “worthy” of love and happiness.

    The threads of this complex tale come together splendidly at the end. By then I had fallen in love with several of the characters, especially Alison, Carole and Solange; it will be a long while before I forget them.

    I allotted myself 7 days to read this one. I finished in 4 days and missed the final days of the Olympics because of it. No regrets. If you are looking for a novel that touches on the themes of prejudice, unfairness, betrayal, love, redemption and just a hint of magic, this is for you. Highly recommended along with Ms. Yoerg’s first two novels, Housebroken and The Middle of Somewhere.

    Many thanks to Ms. Yoerg, Berkley Publishing and Net Galley for an advanced copy of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are unbiased in any way.

  • Linda
    Dec 06, 2016

    I received a copy of All the Best People through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sonja Yoerg for the opportunity.

    Choices

    Some made purposefully by our own accord. Some made by others on the peripheral. And yet, the current in its aftermath still sends out the strains of its steady, low ebb into the receptors of those lives intended or not.

    Carole La Porte sits facing into the lost eyes of her mother, Solange. It's August of 1972 and Solange's daily tipping of reality has been within

    I received a copy of All the Best People through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sonja Yoerg for the opportunity.

    Choices

    Some made purposefully by our own accord. Some made by others on the peripheral. And yet, the current in its aftermath still sends out the strains of its steady, low ebb into the receptors of those lives intended or not.

    Carole La Porte sits facing into the lost eyes of her mother, Solange. It's August of 1972 and Solange's daily tipping of reality has been within the walls of this institution for over 34 years. "The bottom had dropped out of whatever remained of her mother's self." Carole still makes the continuous trips even though the impact on her mother is questionable at best. Voices that simply exist in disconnection.

    Sonja Yoerg opens the arms of this story wide and presents the generational telling of Carole's family in Vermont. The storyline swings gently back and forth from 1972 and then pivots back to 1926. You will be front and center viewing the impact of harsh decisions made by these individuals out of fear, shame, anger, prejudice, and pure revenge. What is put out into the universe finds its way back and it revisits the ache of the oozing wound again and again.

    Carole walks on unsteady feet these days. She slowly experiences the unraveling of her life. It visits her one day in the form of total confusion as to which route to take on the drive home. It paralyzes her into not getting out of her car in the grocery store parking lot. It sends the static of sound waves in the form of unfamiliar voices in her head. Carole's worst fear is that she is becoming her mother.

    The content of this story is far different than Yoerg's previous works. She takes on the challenge of mental illness in its accepted and unacceptable forms. While visiting the past of 1926, we must ask ourselves if the subject matter of mental health still suffers today from lack of open-air discussions. Sadly, Society continues to encase it in walled dwellings of shame.

    I believe that All the Best People will open much needed dialogue. Although a work of fiction, the roadways of this story venture close to home as it should. Bravo, Ms. Yoerg, for such a relevant offering.

  • Diane S ☔
    May 03, 2017

    Solange came from a relatively poor family, a French Catholic family, was raised on a house boat. She falls in love and marries a member of the Protestant elite, and for a while things are fine. They have a daughter, Carole that they both adore but then things fall apart. There is a court case, Ploof vs. Putnam, a case that actually happened, a case that puts the haves against the have not, a case that will highlight the difference of background in their marriage. This will have a dire effect on

    Solange came from a relatively poor family, a French Catholic family, was raised on a house boat. She falls in love and marries a member of the Protestant elite, and for a while things are fine. They have a daughter, Carole that they both adore but then things fall apart. There is a court case, Ploof vs. Putnam, a case that actually happened, a case that puts the haves against the have not, a case that will highlight the difference of background in their marriage. This will have a dire effect on Solvang's future and those of the two daughters she bore.

    Mental illness, in the past and the present. This story takes place from the twenties to the seventies and shows the differing treatments and reasons for commitment. In the present, Carole is hearing voices, her mothers mental illness a very real fear, but the outcome would be markedly different. Allison, Carole's daughter, eleven years old tries to help her mother, sees something is wrong but doesn't understand exactly what to do. She is a wonderful character, so brave and full of love.

    A stunning novel of family, mothers and daughters, mental illness, the eugenics movement and in Carole's family, a great deal of love. The writing is tender, expressive and poignant. Deals with real problems, the stigma and fear when presented with a mental illness, and the strength they take for all involved, to overcome. What was allowed to happen in the past was terrifying, but the future in this book has much promise.

    ARC from publisher.

  • Kendall
    May 26, 2017

    Sonja Yoerg writes a beautifully crafted story about a family across three generations exploring issues of mental illness, complexity of relationships, and different levels of social class.

    Sonja explores the stigma associated with mental illness in our society and the true impact that it can have on a family. As a social worker, I definitely understand the stigma that exists for the mentally ill population but this definitely was an eye opener and a reminder to myself on the importance of not l

    Sonja Yoerg writes a beautifully crafted story about a family across three generations exploring issues of mental illness, complexity of relationships, and different levels of social class.

    Sonja explores the stigma associated with mental illness in our society and the true impact that it can have on a family. As a social worker, I definitely understand the stigma that exists for the mentally ill population but this definitely was an eye opener and a reminder to myself on the importance of not letting judgement impair the way I approach my clients. Sometimes, I think as humans we all tend to have biases and need a little friendly reminder ;).

    The novel is broken up into alternating POV between Carole, Solange, Janine, and Alison. Carole is beginning to hear voices in her head and strange things start to occur. Carole is deeply afraid that she is getting the illness that led to her mother (Solange) being in an asylum for 34 years. The alternating POV's take you from past to present which I absolutely loved. You are slowly intertwined in the story of these four women that literally sweeps your heart up. I think I connected with Alison's character the most. She truly truly was such an amazing 11 year old little girl. Alison is Carole's daughter who we see falling apart trying to understand the complexity of her mother's mental illness and trying desperately to help her mother.

    Can I just say how much I enjoyed the little touch of magic. Oh my gosh... absolutely LOVED the spiritual side in this novel. I think that this absolutely made the novel! Awesome job Sonja Yoerg!

    The ending was ever so amazing. Sonja Yoerg brings the entire storyline beautifully together!!

    "The careless arrows of misfortune were targets glancing off the pure circle of her dreams." If the beach were long enough, her daughter would teach her feet to fly."

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!! Highly recommended! :)

  • Suzanne Leopold
    Apr 28, 2017

    Carole LaPorte is a mother of three children and helps her husband run their automotive repair business in Vermont. She is beginning to hear voices in her head and at times they seems to originate from the television. She starts having trouble focusing on simple chores and it affects her ability to work. She does her best to hide these symptoms from her family because of issues from her childhood. Her mother, Solange, was diagnosed with mental illness and was committed to an institution by her f

    Carole LaPorte is a mother of three children and helps her husband run their automotive repair business in Vermont. She is beginning to hear voices in her head and at times they seems to originate from the television. She starts having trouble focusing on simple chores and it affects her ability to work. She does her best to hide these symptoms from her family because of issues from her childhood. Her mother, Solange, was diagnosed with mental illness and was committed to an institution by her father.

    This novel combines three stories which are told from various points of view. We learn more about Solange and Carole and soon get introduced to Alison who is Carole’s youngest child. Alison is watching her world fall apart as her mother becomes unreliable and withdrawn. With a mother battling mental issues, Alison experiences many of the same concerns as Carole. Solange’s life is examined in more detail and LaPorte family issues are revealed.

    This is a heartfelt book about the stigma that mental illness carries and how treatments have changed throughout the years. Sometimes the best prescription is the love and support of your family. I hope to read more novels by Sonja Yoerg.

    book giveaway on my blog until 5/2

  • Book of Secrets
    May 22, 2017

    3.5 Stars

    ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a family drama spanning three generations, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Does mental illness run in the family? When Carole starts hearing voices, she fears that she will meet the same fate as her mother, Solange: being locked away for decades in a mental institution. Carole shrinks from her family at the time when her daughter Alison needs her most: adolescence.

    Overall, I thought this book was beautifully written, and the author handles the subject of mental illn

    3.5 Stars

    ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a family drama spanning three generations, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Does mental illness run in the family? When Carole starts hearing voices, she fears that she will meet the same fate as her mother, Solange: being locked away for decades in a mental institution. Carole shrinks from her family at the time when her daughter Alison needs her most: adolescence.

    Overall, I thought this book was beautifully written, and the author handles the subject of mental illness realistically and with compassion. I was really drawn in by Part One of the story, focusing on Carole and Alison in 1972. With Carole’s point of view, the reader gets a strong sense of her fear and confusion as the disease takes hold of her mind.

    I wasn’t as engaged in Part Two, which was Solange’s story of her marriage to Carole’s father. It’s a story of class, rich versus poor, and social injustice. The pacing was slower, and to me it felt a bit disjointed from the other part. Another POV came from Janine, Carole’s younger sister, who was an awful, unlikable character, and honestly her part didn’t do much to advance the story.

    I wish there had been more magic or magical realism that the blurb alluded to, so the book was a bit different than what I was expecting. Still, it was a touching and heartbreaking story about how one family faced its history of mental illness.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Angela M
    Apr 15, 2017

    This story brings to light many of the issues surrounding mental illness- the stigma attached to it, the difficulties in coming to terms with it and the impact on families. Its about more than this, though. It's about a time when a husband could easily commit his wife to a mental institution for "hysteria" meaning behavior they didn't like . It's about some complex family relationships and secrets, the ones you hold and those you don't know about. It's about class differences, about mothers and

    This story brings to light many of the issues surrounding mental illness- the stigma attached to it, the difficulties in coming to terms with it and the impact on families. Its about more than this, though. It's about a time when a husband could easily commit his wife to a mental institution for "hysteria" meaning behavior they didn't like . It's about some complex family relationships and secrets, the ones you hold and those you don't know about. It's about class differences, about mothers and daughters, sisters, about misconceptions of who you are and your family history.

    There are alternating narratives centering on three generations of females in this family. Carole knows something is happening to her. She's disoriented, can't stop the voices in her head, thinking that it might be the illness that led to her mother being in an asylum for the last 34 years . The narratives are both past and present so you get an understanding of the events in their lives that bring them to where they are today. The other narratives are from the perspectives of Janine, Carole's younger sister, Solange, Carole's mother, but I was most touched by Alison, Carole's 11 year old daughter. She knows things are not right with her mom and doesn't quite know what to do about it, sometimes thinking it's her fault and she is the one who is changing until a near tragedy brings recognition to Alison, Carole and the rest of the family.

    A pat ending in some ways, but Yoerg does a great job of saving until the end some revelations that I didn't guess. It's well written family drama , a quick read that while focusing on mental illness, has a lot to say about family ties, trust and love.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley Books through NetGalley.


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