“What is in your blood matters, but not as much as what is in your heart.” All The Best People
ALL THE BEST PEOPLE (Berkley) by Sonya Yoerg is a novel I hope every person is privileged to read. It is my second choice for one of the best novels of 2017.
Vermont 1972. ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is about real people facing complex difficulties in their lives. It’s an important novel about a taboo subject, often ignored in our society. It focuses on three generations of women in one family facing mental illness, madness and magic. The novel had me crying several times, and then with the next sentence, laughing aloud. But ultimately, the narrative is about the power of forgiveness, healing and love.
Sonya Yoerg’s prose are melodic, similar to listening to one of Tchaikovsky’s, brilliant symphonies. The melody beings and the tempo quickens, soaring up to crescendo before easing back. The reader, or listener has a moment to be enveloped in this place of perfection before the melody begins, once again.
Carole LaPorte, mother of three and wife to Walt lives a pleasant life. But then, she begins to think her mind is playing games with her. She’s hearing voices, the television is speaking to her and she fears she may be suffering from some form of mental illness. Carole is terrified of being put away in an institution for decades, like her mother, Solange was. She tries to hide the symptoms from her family, by saying she’s tired and anxious and slowly withdraws. But her eleven year-old daughter, Alison knows something is seriously wrong. Alison tries to find meaning in her life, with her grandmother’s mysterious blue magic glass box, tarot cards and spells. Eventually, Carole’s disease is revealed, along with family secrets and soon the entire LaPorte clan is courageously facing this disease together.
“How little it took, sometimes, to smooth the rough currents of worry and fear; a word, a look, a hand. How very little.” All The Best People
Sonya Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont. She earned a Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and published a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, CLEVER AS A FOX (Bloomsbury USA, 2001). She lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Thanks to Berkley Books we’re able to giveaway a copy of ALL THE BEST PEOPLE. Just tell us how mental illness has affected you or someone you know. We’ll announce a winner Monday.
This is a wonderful novel for book clubs and I imagine many will be reading and discussing, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE very soon.