Review - All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg @SonjaYoerg @BerkleyPub

All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Date Read: April 21, 2017
Source: First to Read

The author of The Middle of Somewhere presents a novel of madness, magic, and misfortune across three generations

Vermont, 1972. As the wife of an auto mechanic and mother of three children, Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. But then her mind starts playing tricks on her, and she becomes terrified of ending up like her mother, who has been locked away in the state mental hospital since Carole was ten.

Trying to hide her symptoms, Carole unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter on a desperate search for meaning and power—in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.
My Review

This was a really well done story.  When I first noticed saw this book, I honestly didn't give it a lot of thought.  I have never read the author and hadn't really heard much about it.  For some reason, I went back to it and read the description and was intrigued so I decided to give it a try.  I am so glad that I did.   This was a book that really stayed in my head and made me think about everything that goes along with mental illness.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel.

This book was told from multiple points of view and in different periods of time.  Carole is a wife and mother leading a pretty normal life.  Alison is her 11 year old daughter and the youngest child in the family.  Janine is Carole's younger sister who happens to work at Alison's school.  The other story that we are told is that of Carole's mother, Solange, who resides at a nearby institution.  Each of these voices really worked together to tell the story well.

Carole is noticing that she is starting to have a hard time with some tasks that never caused her trouble before.  She has always taken care of the shop's books but it is becoming difficult.  She is hearing voices and she can't get the sound to stop.  She doesn't want to go anywhere and she is not being the mother that her children need her to be at times.  She is terrified about what is going on in her mind.

Alison needs her mom.  She knows that something isn't right but nobody else in the family seems to think it is a big deal.  Sure, her father is pitching in on some of the things her mother can't seem to get done but it isn't quite the same.  She tries talking to her aunt Janine but nothing seems to happen.

Solange's story was my favorite part of the book.  We meet her at the very start of the novel when Carole visits her at the institution but I wondered what her story really was.  Solange and her husband, Osborn, fell in love and got married.  They were from different classes and over time they learn that a lot of their beliefs were quite different.  Solange was smart and opinionated and I was really curious about how her live changed so dramatically.

The writing was very well done.  I really felt like each of these characters were telling me their story.  I felt Carole's fear regarding the changes she couldn't control.  Alison's desperation to get her mom back to normal was nicely illustrated.  I really liked the fact that we learn Carole's past through Solange's story and then from Carole's memories.  Each piece of the puzzle really came together to tell a story with a big impact.

I would highly recommend this book to others.  It is a very well done story of a family touched by mental illness.  The characters are extremely well done and the writing flows.  I look forward to reading more of Sonja Yoerg's work in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.
About the Author

Sonja Yoerg, the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken, grew up in Stowe, Vermont, and earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. Her nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox, was published in 2001.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. Mental illness is one of the most misunderstood illnesses. It is a topic that people tend to avoid. Great review Carole, and I am glad you enjoyed it.

  2. This book looks good and I like that the author is bringing attention to this disease of mental illness. Great review Carole.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I almost grabbed it but didn't. After reading your review, I will keep an eye open at my library and if they have it, I will definitely grab it. Great review.

  4. Wow this sounds really good. I like multiple POV and time periods in books and it sounds like it was done well here. Great review!

  5. Interesting. And it is the first time I have heard about this one

  6. This sounds really good. I love books that really stay with you and different POV and time periods when well done. I've seen this book as well but haven't given it much thought but I think it needs to go on my TBR!

  7. Awesome review, Carole. I've been wanting to read the books about mental illness. Thanks for the review. I'll look at this book. :)

  8. I'd not seen this book before! It sounds interesting but probably not for me. It's neat that the setting is 1972 - that sounds recent but I suppose it really isn't. o_o Great review, Carole!

    Have a fantastic weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  9. Her mental illness sounded like a self-fulfilling prophecy or an actual madness. I'm really curious now.


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