Gracey Reiter confronts a painful past and an intimidating future with the approaching death of her father, Henry Mueller, the self-described “last Mohican” from the chaotic gene pool known as the Walsh-Mueller family. The present holds the answer, and the last opportunity for Gracey to understand her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s infidelity, and her siblings’ version of the truth.
The voices of the past give Gracey the courage to find her voice. Using biting humor and gut-level truths for the first time in her life, Gracey walks across the land mines created by a crippling family legacy.
Henry’s funeral and the Irish wedding of Therese Mueller, Gracey’s and her husband Mark Mueller’s daughter, coincide by a few weeks and serve as a completion of the family circle. With the closing of one door, and the opening of the future, Gracey finds forgiveness by realizing six generations of the Walsh-Mueller family, saints and sinners, criminals and heroes, the abandoned and the celebrated, are forever family, forever bound by blood and the dreams of an Irish girl, Patricia Walsh Mueller.
A Good Girl examines the numbing work of raising children and burying parents through six generations.
|Publisher:||Texas Review Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
JOHNNIE BERNHARD is a former English teacher and journalist with a passion for reading and writing. Her work(s) have appeared in the following publications: The Mississippi Press, the international Word Among Us, Southern WritersMagazine, Southern Literary Review, The Texas Review, and the Cowbird-NPR production on small town America. Her entry, “The Last Mayberry,” received over 7,500 views, nationally and internationally. Johnnie’s first novel, A Good Girl received finalist recognition in the 2015 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition. It is a featured novel for the 2017 Mississippi and Louisiana Book Festivals, a finalist in the 2017 Kindle Book Awards, and a nominee for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A lovely story of love and loss over the generations.
A Good Girl is the story of how a woman finds forgiveness through six generations of family! As you start A Good Girl, you wonder how each generation will be explored given it's such a short book. The story starts in present day with Gracey and her dying father, Henry, who is the self-proclaimed "Last Mohican" from the gene pool that is the Walsh-Mueller family. From Ireland to South Texas and back to Ireland again, readers discover one generation at a time with Gracey. As she goes through her father's things, we get a better understanding of what has happened over the years to lead up to the present day. Going into this book, I was concerned about the large number of characters because with a whole bunch of characters, it's easy to lose track of who is who. Having the family tree in the very beginning of A Good Girl was very helpful in order to keep track of the characters and where you are in the story without getting confused. There is a lot to this story that I don't want to spoil for anyone, but I think most everyone reading this will look at their own family tree and realize that we are all the same like the Walsh-Muellers! Having the story come full circle in the end was the most perfect way to end this great read!! Thank You to Johnnie Bernhard for writing a great book that makes me want to learn more about my own family's past!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours!
A Good Girl examines how sin and addiction is passed from generation to generation. The narrative moves from the present to the past, tracing generations of Irish immigrants to America. Maybe I’m not enough of a family saga fan to appreciate the tale. Overall, it was okay, but heavy on internal thoughts and light on character change. A fair amount of typos/grammar errors were somewhat distracting. I had to force myself to keep reading until about the final third of the book, when I was finally more invested in the characters and the outcome.
Upon my first reading, I connected spiritually with Gracey. What she went through, I’ve been through four times. It does not get easier. It is not until someone dies do you see the depth of their being. Reading my father’s journal, going through his papers, allowed me to see him for someone other than just my daddy. Gracey goes through this while reading her family history in her great-great-grandmother’s Bible. The past and the present collide inside and all around Gracey, exposing long-hidden secrets, reasons for things she never understood, and most importantly, why the madness must stop here. Forgiveness and redemption only come with a change of heart. This is a book everyone, men and women, should read. If your parents are still with you, open a dialogue and then LISTEN. If they are not, know they did their best. Love them for who they were and forgive everything. A Good Girl will help with all that and more. — CJ Loiacono