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 childhood might have happened to someone else.But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison 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.CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED

All the Best People Details

TitleAll the Best People
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 2nd, 2017
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN0399583491
ISBN-139780399583490
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Womens Fiction, Historical Fiction

All the Best People Review

  • Christine
    July 10, 2016
    Thank you, Ms. Sonja Yoerg, for kindly gifting me a paperback galley copy of All the Best People in exchange for an unbiased review.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 Thank you, Ms. Sonja Yoerg, for kindly gifting me a paperback galley copy of All the Best People in exchange for an unbiased review.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.
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  • Linda O'Donnell
    December 6, 2016
    I received a copy of All the Best People through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Sonja Yoerg for the opportunity.ChoicesSome 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.ChoicesSome 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.
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  • Barbara White
    June 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!
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  • Kelly
    March 18, 2017
    I was so fortunate to receive an ARC of "All the Best People" from the author. This novel tells the story of three generations of women in Vermont in the 1930s and 1970s. It deals with mental illness and shows the differences in treatment over time and the affects on the family. I love Sonja Yoerg's writing and as always her characters have such depth. This is a truly beautiful story. I have read all three of Yoerg's books and I always look forward to her next. I love that all of her stories are I was so fortunate to receive an ARC of "All the Best People" from the author. This novel tells the story of three generations of women in Vermont in the 1930s and 1970s. It deals with mental illness and shows the differences in treatment over time and the affects on the family. I love Sonja Yoerg's writing and as always her characters have such depth. This is a truly beautiful story. I have read all three of Yoerg's books and I always look forward to her next. I love that all of her stories are so different from each other but still share the wonderful writing style and great characterization.
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  • Susan Peterson
    July 1, 2016
    All the Best People takes the reader on a riveting journey, full of loud, upsetting moments followed by quiet reflection as the reader takes everything in...an intricate web of emotions, suspense, love, family, and mental illness. It tells the story of 3 generations of women in a family, each of them dealing with confusion, betrayal, and a past that influenced and shaped their lives. Solange has spent most of her life locked away in a mental institution, the victim of a society which allowed hus All the Best People takes the reader on a riveting journey, full of loud, upsetting moments followed by quiet reflection as the reader takes everything in...an intricate web of emotions, suspense, love, family, and mental illness. It tells the story of 3 generations of women in a family, each of them dealing with confusion, betrayal, and a past that influenced and shaped their lives. Solange has spent most of her life locked away in a mental institution, the victim of a society which allowed husbands to commit their wives, and treatments which left her shattered. Carole and Janine are Solange's daughters, and each of them have suffered from the consequences of their mother's absence. When Carole's life begins to unravel, she is so terrified that her life will meet the same fate as her mother's that it takes a horrific event for her to finally quiet the voices in her head. Alison is Carole's daughter, a young girl who is confused and hurt by her mother's actions, and trying to find a way to fix them all. This book is full of heart-pounding suspense, a story that will keep the reader compelled until the very end. At the heart of this story, though, are mothers and daughters and their love for each other; a love that must overcome bad decisions and fate; a love that endures and grows strong despite pain and heartache.
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  • Barbara
    July 14, 2016
    This story is a complete 180 from the last book by Yoerg that I read. I think I enjoyed this one all the more for the excellent characters she created. In the latter half of the story, she managed to make me feel that it was the early 1970's, when I would have been just a bit younger than Alison, a character in the story. The story starts out in 1930's Vermont where we meet Solange, daughter of one of the working class lake families, who meets and marries one of the wealthy sons of the gentry. A This story is a complete 180 from the last book by Yoerg that I read. I think I enjoyed this one all the more for the excellent characters she created. In the latter half of the story, she managed to make me feel that it was the early 1970's, when I would have been just a bit younger than Alison, a character in the story. The story starts out in 1930's Vermont where we meet Solange, daughter of one of the working class lake families, who meets and marries one of the wealthy sons of the gentry. After a whirlwind romance, Solange struggles with where she fits into the upper-crust society she's married into. Solange soon finds herself pregnant and the mother of Carole and tries very hard to find her place. Solange continues to struggle with coming to terms with how her "people" are being treated and her place in society. One day she recklessly finds herself in the arms of another man. This sets her on roller coaster course in her personal life. When her 2nd daughter, Janine is born, Solange's life spirals out of control. She decides to run away with her daughters to her family, but her husband puts a stop to that, by placing Solange in the state insane asylum for hysteria. The girls he places with his sisters as he heads off to fight in WWII. Carole always wonders why her father's family treated Janine differently and tries hard to protect her as they grow up. The 2nd half of the story follows Carole and Janine as adults where Carole finds herself descending into mental illness. This part of the story was so well written. I could feel Carole's anguish. Janine continues to struggle with who she is as an adult and I have to admit, she was not a likeable character, but that's exactly what Yoerg was trying to convey. The story comes full circle with a satisfying ending.
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  • Laura Rash
    June 30, 2016
    I've been a fan of Sonja's books since her first but I think this is her best one yet! Such great characters. A storyline that makes you want to read fast to know how it ends but at the same time you want to treasure every word & sentence. A truly touching story of mental illness, it's affect on family & how views have changed on it thru time. Highly recommend this book!
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    March 1, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“Recently, Carole overheard the nurses say Solange Gifford was haunted, and although Carole did not, strictly speaking, believe in ghosts, it was as fitting a diagnosis as any.”Something is pulling the threads of Carole’s sanity, and the origins of her unraveling may be in the blood. When Carole was a child growing up in the 1970’s, her mother was committed to the ‘madhouse’ but what a child perceives and what is truth is more often than not at via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“Recently, Carole overheard the nurses say Solange Gifford was haunted, and although Carole did not, strictly speaking, believe in ghosts, it was as fitting a diagnosis as any.”Something is pulling the threads of Carole’s sanity, and the origins of her unraveling may be in the blood. When Carole was a child growing up in the 1970’s, her mother was committed to the ‘madhouse’ but what a child perceives and what is truth is more often than not at odds with reality. She has always had to keep things together, raising her little sister- the baby her disturbed mother always mentions, one who never grew up in her damaged mind, a sister who refuses to visit the mother she never knew. But despite Carole’s calm surface and her orderly life of structure she cannot stop the shift that is taking place and her daughter Alison is horrified. Desperately in need of mothering, Alison is adrift without guidance. Her body is changing, school is getting difficult, friendships are strained and her mother is losing it but no one seems to be doing anything about it! Unbeknownst to her husband and children, Carole is hearing voices that she knows aren’t there. She is terrified of being devoured by the mental illness that swallowed her mother whole, with good reason. When Solange was committed, times were different and treatments far more severe. It’s hard not to delve deeper into Solange’s past in my review, the ease with which women were committed, the treatments that did more harm than good. What can be said is it was a fresh hell indeed for those afflicted and those committed for different reasons.Alison is the only hope for uncovering the truth of her mother’s illness and her grandmother’s past. What really drove Carole’s father to commit her mother? The two were once so deeply in love, despite their social standing. How did a life, once so full of promise, sour and turn nightmarish? The roots of the past are choking the life from Alison’s mother, and without her mother’s nurturing, Alison turns to tarrot cards, omens, her family’s mysteries to try and make sense of a world that has suddenly gone spinning off its axis. Alison’s maternal great grandmother Rosemarie once gave Solange a blue glass box and it must contain an answer of some sort. Solange came from people who made their living on boats, who worked themselves to the bone, some were said to be healers, but were they really just mentally ill? Savage people?Carole’s heart is a wound, the terrifying fear that lurks in the darkest crevices of the mind when mental illness runs in a family disarms the reader. So terrified of becoming like Solange, Carole tries to hide the cracks when she needs glue to put her back together. It’s more than losing control, it’s the fear of losing ones identity, reality even. Times were not kind to people struggling with mental instability and it sticks to those who witnessed the tragic outcome of early treatments. My compassion was deep for Carole, in fact for Solange and Alison too. It’s beautifully realistic in the way Alison’s father reacts, because so many people don’t know what to do when someone is ‘off’. Often, usually to dire consequences, signs go ignored and loved ones assume ‘they just need a rest, and then they’ll be right as rain.’ Her mother has always been reliable, a rock in the running of the garage her family owns and Alison’s father is too wrapped up in work to realize what is happening. He imagines it’s just a ‘change’ all women of a certain age go through. Alison is not convinced.Carole’s father was a different story entirely. It’s not at all far fetched, what happened to Solange during that time. It’s strange how people set themselves apart, feel superior to those who have less or believe differently. When I sat back and really chewed on what happened to Carole’s mother Solange, I felt so much anger because although this is fictional, it was a reality not just for women, but children that were ‘defective’- such an ugly word. Mental health has always been something people want to bury, or lock up. Anything that makes the happy people uneasy is dealt with through an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ fix. Maybe we’re getting better, though not through leaps and bounds, as we should be. Yet back in the day… well… Solange was doomed and what exactly was her source of ‘mental decline’? You must read to find out.The author did a beautiful job writing about the women in this family. Sometimes even the strongest women can’t undo what’s been done. In Solange’s time, women didn’t have much power, certainly not when going against the paragons of society. Don’t look at the pretty cover and think it’s a light read, you’d be sorely mistaken. It’s terrible but hopeful too. Add this to your May reading list.Publication Date: May 2, 2o17Berkley Publishing Group
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  • Shannon Hollinger
    July 1, 2016
    This book is one of those rare literary gems that has a bit of everything. Gorgeously written, All the Best People unabashedly explores the messiness of real life. Told through the voices of three generations of women, and spanning history from the twenties to the seventies, the pages of this book are filled with, "madness, magic and misfortune" in the great state of Vermont. How could you ask for anything more?Author Sonja Yoerg artfully delves into the dangerous territory of mental illness, in This book is one of those rare literary gems that has a bit of everything. Gorgeously written, All the Best People unabashedly explores the messiness of real life. Told through the voices of three generations of women, and spanning history from the twenties to the seventies, the pages of this book are filled with, "madness, magic and misfortune" in the great state of Vermont. How could you ask for anything more?Author Sonja Yoerg artfully delves into the dangerous territory of mental illness, including its treatment, its effect on families, and its stigma, in a novel taught with suspense, pain and longing. The voices of the characters were masterfully crafted, the emotion keenly real, and the story kept me on tenterhooks. I couldn't put this book down, as in, my fingers feel blistered I was turning the pages so fast! 5 stars!So the good news is . . . I've got an incredible book to recommend to you. Now, the bad news . . . I read an advanced copy, so it won't be available to you until its release in May, 2017. (Sorry, not sorry). But . . . and maybe this will soften the blow . . . the author, Sonja Yoerg, has written two other great books, House Broken and The Middle of Somewhere, which you can get your hands on now!
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  • Letty
    November 6, 2016
    I was so very fortunate and honored to receive an ARC of this remarkable book by Sonja Yoerg. This is a lovely but emotional story that deals with mental illness. Told in the different points of view of Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's young daughter Alison. These characters were very believable and my heart went out to them. I felt for Solange for being put into a mental institution by her husband Osborne for "hysteria" after the birth of her youngest daughter Janine, for I was so very fortunate and honored to receive an ARC of this remarkable book by Sonja Yoerg. This is a lovely but emotional story that deals with mental illness. Told in the different points of view of Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's young daughter Alison. These characters were very believable and my heart went out to them. I felt for Solange for being put into a mental institution by her husband Osborne for "hysteria" after the birth of her youngest daughter Janine, for Carole who after being happily married for many years with three kids suddenly begins to hear voices and is afraid to tell anyone about this, even her adoring husband Walt, for fear that she too will be institutionalized like her mother, and for eleven-year-old Alison who doesn't understand what is happening to her mother and believes that with her own "magical" powers, she can help her mother get better. And poor Janine, after the death of her husband, she is desperate to find love again and believes she has found the perfect man but things just can't seem to go her way. A surprise revelation made to Carole towards the end of the book helps her to understand and come to terms with her mental illness.I thought the writing was superb! This is a book that readers will not want to put down until the very last words end the story. It is beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful!! Truly this is Sonja Yoerg's best book to date!! I highly recommend this go on everyone's to-be-read list!!
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  • Nita
    July 7, 2016
    This book takes the heart and squeezes tightly, refusing to let go! While there are many layers to the story, Sonja Yoerg does a marvelous job bringing it to a satisfying ending! The characters are ones that I could relate with and was totally drawn into their emotions and struggles. Yoerg does a marvelous job of bringing 1972 alive with the angst and struggles of 11 year-old Alison and brings the true fear and struggles of mental illness to light and the horror of husbands committing wives and This book takes the heart and squeezes tightly, refusing to let go! While there are many layers to the story, Sonja Yoerg does a marvelous job bringing it to a satisfying ending! The characters are ones that I could relate with and was totally drawn into their emotions and struggles. Yoerg does a marvelous job of bringing 1972 alive with the angst and struggles of 11 year-old Alison and brings the true fear and struggles of mental illness to light and the horror of husbands committing wives and family members. I highly recommend this book! A must read!
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  • Mari
    February 6, 2017
    A fascinating and fresh look at mental illness, and the stigma such diagnoses create for a family, set in the Lake Champlain/Burlington region of Vermont. I received an ARC of this novel in November, and worried the subject matter would make for a depressing read. I'm glad I finally picked it up!The novel follows three generations of women and the narrative jumps from the early 1970s, to the 1920s into the world war 2 ear, and concludes back in the 1970s. With the clear mark of a writer who reme A fascinating and fresh look at mental illness, and the stigma such diagnoses create for a family, set in the Lake Champlain/Burlington region of Vermont. I received an ARC of this novel in November, and worried the subject matter would make for a depressing read. I'm glad I finally picked it up!The novel follows three generations of women and the narrative jumps from the early 1970s, to the 1920s into the world war 2 ear, and concludes back in the 1970s. With the clear mark of a writer who remembers what is was like to be a kid, Ms. Yoerg captures the adolescent angst of Alison, caught in that awkward stage between her childhood and her teenage years. Alison struggles to fit in at school and with her increasingly unhinged mother, Carole, at home. Alison inhabits the middle ground of middle school: she's not wealthy, but not dirt poor; not popular, but not a pariah; neither the best student nor the worst. She's interested in magic, loves her cat, and harbors a crush on her cute cad of a teacher. She also benefits from a solid, reliable father, Walt, who arguably makes up for much of the rough hand Alison's been dealt in the mom department. Walt, by 1970s dad standards at least, often reads as almost too good to be true, but he's a good foil for Solange's husband, Osborn, and underscores the book's theme that "good breeding" doesn't mean "good person."Ms. Yoerg shows her reader the eerie progression of Carole's mental illness, which worsens to the point when her family can no longer pretend that the mother suffers from menopause and interrupted sleep. About a third of the way into the book, she pauses the Alison-Carole storyline and begins to tell the back story of Carole's institutionalized mother, Solange, whose wasted life (the fallout of one questionable decision) forms the central tragedy of the novel, and provides a chilling peek into the power of men over their wives in not-so-distant history.Some of the best paced chapters belong to an almost secondary character, Carole's sister, Janine. Janine suffers from no outward symptoms of mental illness, but lacks a moral compass. The result of Janine's climactic decision may feel a bit too convenient in the service of the larger plot. It's a minor shortcoming. Read this book anyway!
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  • Holly Robinson
    August 12, 2016
    My mom and I do a lot of book-swapping, and recently I gave her an advance copy of All the Best People. I had received an early copy for review, and raced through it. My mom did the same. As she handed back a stack of half a dozen books, she put All the Best People on the top of the pile and said, "Now THIS is a great book!" I couldn't agree more. I've read all of Sonja Yoerg's novels, and what I admire about her as a writer is that each of her novels is different--and in every one of them, she My mom and I do a lot of book-swapping, and recently I gave her an advance copy of All the Best People. I had received an early copy for review, and raced through it. My mom did the same. As she handed back a stack of half a dozen books, she put All the Best People on the top of the pile and said, "Now THIS is a great book!" I couldn't agree more. I've read all of Sonja Yoerg's novels, and what I admire about her as a writer is that each of her novels is different--and in every one of them, she takes new risks and shows her steady growth as a storyteller and craftswoman. In All the Best People, Yoerg delivers the powerful story of a family whose legacy of mental illness and betrayals nearly destroys them. Along the way, she illustrates a time in our country's recent history when “hysteria” was reason enough for a husband to commit his wife to an asylum if he chose, and when race and poverty served as a permanent wedge between people in the same small town. Yoerg's writing keeps us on a high wire of tension as we seek salvation and hope alongside her characters. The lessons in this novel resonate long after the book is finished.
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  • Laura Drake
    November 25, 2016
    Family mental illness is a tough subject. If I hadn't read Ms. Yoerg's other books, I probably wouldn't have attempted this one, being afraid it would be a downer. Boy, am I glad I read this beautiful story. Told from 3 generations of women in the same family, Yoerg weaves stories together brilliantly, revealing secrets and history a bit at a time. Her portrayal of a young girl was so spot-on that it made me recall that awkward time. This is my favorite kind of book; It’s real and it’s true, but Family mental illness is a tough subject. If I hadn't read Ms. Yoerg's other books, I probably wouldn't have attempted this one, being afraid it would be a downer. Boy, am I glad I read this beautiful story. Told from 3 generations of women in the same family, Yoerg weaves stories together brilliantly, revealing secrets and history a bit at a time. Her portrayal of a young girl was so spot-on that it made me recall that awkward time. This is my favorite kind of book; It’s real and it’s true, but won’t leave you in a bad place.
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  • Rachel Frank
    July 1, 2016
    The quality of the writing of this book was absolutely phenomenal--it transported me right back to Vermont, where I went to college and miss dearly. It was fast-paced and full of intriguing characters and deep symbolism. I loved it and my book club will too!
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  • Susan Becraft
    July 5, 2016
    Sonja Yoerg has written another remarkable book - her finest to date, in my opinion. Set in Vermont, All the Best People is told by three generations of women in one family. The story of prejudice, mental illness, understanding, family, forgiveness and love is perfectly crafted and skillfully written. The characters are so complete that I found myself having mental conversations with them. For me, in-depth character development is the hallmark of a writer's skill.Many people are unaware of Vermo Sonja Yoerg has written another remarkable book - her finest to date, in my opinion. Set in Vermont, All the Best People is told by three generations of women in one family. The story of prejudice, mental illness, understanding, family, forgiveness and love is perfectly crafted and skillfully written. The characters are so complete that I found myself having mental conversations with them. For me, in-depth character development is the hallmark of a writer's skill.Many people are unaware of Vermont's poverty; it currently has the dubious distinction of being the second poorest state in the country. In the 1930s when part of the story takes place, prejudice against Lake Champlain boat dwellers, pejoratively called Pirates, was rampant. When Solange, a Pirate girl, eloped with Osborn, his wealthy Protestant family made no effort to hide its displeasure.The book addresses the economic divide which continues to prevail across America. Carole's preteen daughter, attempting to buy just the right blouse for $5.99, made me terribly sad. She wished only to fit in with her wealthier schoolmates. How does a hardworking but poor father explain to his daughter that he can spare no money for her school wardrobe, which includes her first bra?The book brilliantly tackles mental illness and the eugenics movement prominent in the 1930s. Confinement to an asylum was a life sentence for most patients. They were often treated like lab animals and had no rights. Treatment of the mentally ill is shown to have evolved, but despite humane doctors, those afflicted fear stigmatization and often try to conceal their symptoms. This storyline is incredibly powerful.Meticulous research went into this book. The story is also adeptly layered, making it complex but not complicated. Nothing is left to chance, and there are no unresolved loose ends. All the Best People can be summed up in one word: wonderful.
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  • Sue
    September 12, 2016
    ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a novel about mental illness and its effect on three generations of a Vermont family. It's a fantastic novel and the characters are extremely well written. It also shows how mental illness was dealt with in the past by family and society.Solange is the first member of the family to suffer a breakdown in the novel. Her story takes place in the 30s when she was a young girl from the 'wrong side of the tracks'who fell in love with a rich man. They disagreed vehemently about h ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a novel about mental illness and its effect on three generations of a Vermont family. It's a fantastic novel and the characters are extremely well written. It also shows how mental illness was dealt with in the past by family and society.Solange is the first member of the family to suffer a breakdown in the novel. Her story takes place in the 30s when she was a young girl from the 'wrong side of the tracks'who fell in love with a rich man. They disagreed vehemently about how the poor and the mentally ill should be treated until their lives were so far apart that they began to dislike each other. They had a child, Carole, and then later a second child who inadvertently was the reason that Solange was sent to a mental hospital, where she remained for the rest of her life. Carole is Solange's daughter and she is having hallucinations and no longer able to cope. She is afraid to tell anyone and just pulls more into herself much to her family's confusion and dismay. Allison is one of Carole's children and her only daughter. She is totally bewildered by what is going on with her mother and she feels unloved as her mother retreats into her own world.The characters are fantastically written in this novel. The way that the author tells us Carole's story as she becomes more and more detached from reality is so well done that I could feel her pain and confusion. The ending of the novel is perfect and now that I've finished the book, I'd like to check back with Carole and her family to see how they are doing!My prediction is that this is going to be one of the top books of 2017. Get your copy as soon as it publishes - you need to and want to read this book!
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  • Patricia
    July 31, 2016
    I could hardly put ALL THE BEST PEOPLE down; it's quite a mesmerizing novel. The story is about 4 generations of females and their families. This book is about madness and magic; it is about the haves and have-not's. I highly recommend this brilliant novel!
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  • Cynthia
    July 6, 2016
    I received an advanced copy of "All the Best People" and feel honored! It was a fantastic read and I encourage you to read it when it comes out next year! A story told by four different women from the same family. So much happens and I did not want the book to end! Taking place during the depression and then the 1970s the story has so much to it and is told wonderfully! I look forward to reading more by this author!
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  • Kim Lewis
    August 1, 2016
    This is the third novel I've read by Ms. Yoerg. I loved them all, especially "All the Best People." The author has a talent for developing characters who are so easy to identify with. The story involves family, love, betrayal, and ever present intrigue. I believe women readers, in particular, will relate to complex but endearing mother - daughter relationships. I could hardly put it down once I started reading.
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  • Heather Webb
    July 6, 2016
    After researching and writing a novel about a woman suffering with mental illness myself, I can truly say Sonja Yoerg's characterizations were handled with great empathy and a deft hand. I felt Solange's frustration and defeat, Carol's fear and determination, and sweet Allison's confusion as she set out on a quest to understand who she is, where she comes from, and the mysteries and magic that binds her family together. The story also explores the delicate definition of what it means to be famil After researching and writing a novel about a woman suffering with mental illness myself, I can truly say Sonja Yoerg's characterizations were handled with great empathy and a deft hand. I felt Solange's frustration and defeat, Carol's fear and determination, and sweet Allison's confusion as she set out on a quest to understand who she is, where she comes from, and the mysteries and magic that binds her family together. The story also explores the delicate definition of what it means to be family, and comes to an exciting and satisfying end. In ALL THE BEST PEOPLE, rural Vermont is beautifully rendered with Yoerg's skillful writing. Highly recommended.
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  • Karen Lanning
    August 8, 2016
    In All the Best People, Sonja Yoerg lusciously crafts a story intertwined with the insanity of life and of the mind. Strand by strand, this complex story tightens around three generations of Vermont women; their lives tied together by deceit, madness... and the fundamental essence of love.This is Sonja Yoerg's third novel and it's just terrific! The voices of Solange, Carole and Alison are pitch perfect—she hits this one outta the park!Karen Lanning
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  • Helga
    July 3, 2016
    I enjoyed this book immensely for several reasons. The author captures the essence of Vermont, and explores advances in the treatment of mental illness through carefully constructed characters and a poignant water theme. The story is solid, and the book has great readability. I highly recommend this well-written and thought provoking novel!
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  • Amy
    August 18, 2016
    One of the most memorable books I've read in a long time, All the Best People is a true introspective into one family's extraordinary life. And their life is extraordinary mostly because they don't know it is. Yoerg is a master storyteller, the language is lovely, yet accessible. Don't miss this book.
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  • Amy Impellizzeri
    August 2, 2016
    Exhilarating and gorgeous tale about family and secrets, rooted in history. Sonja Yoerg is one of my favorites, but she has outdone herself with this book!!
  • Julie Timmer
    July 10, 2016
    I'm a big fan of Sonja's work. Her writing is always so smart, and ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is no exception.
  • Jen
    January 23, 2017
    All the Best People is a wonderful, heartfelt novel about mental illness, secrets and family. The book is told through the eyes of 3 generations- Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's daughter Alison. Solange is a "pirate" from the wrong side of the tracks and marries Osbourne, from a prominent family. She is committed when Carol is just a young child and Janine, a newborn, has yet to be named. Next, Carole begins to hear voices as a mother to adolescent Alison (and her twin tee All the Best People is a wonderful, heartfelt novel about mental illness, secrets and family. The book is told through the eyes of 3 generations- Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's daughter Alison. Solange is a "pirate" from the wrong side of the tracks and marries Osbourne, from a prominent family. She is committed when Carol is just a young child and Janine, a newborn, has yet to be named. Next, Carole begins to hear voices as a mother to adolescent Alison (and her twin teenage boys), while working in her husband's shop. She is terrified and ashamed to end up like her mother and tries to hide her illness, but it becomes harder the longer she tries. Janine never really knew her mother, or her father, and is a narcissistic addition to the storyline. Other than Osbourne, it gives you someone to dislike and look forward to seeing if she gets her just desserts. Yoerg goes back and forth, through each female's eyes, to show what it's like to deal with a mental illness, to have a family with a mental illness and the ramifications of it all. The reactions and emotions are real, raw and fantastically written. I savored this book, hoping it would last just a little bit longer. I know you will too.
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  • Nicole Waggoner
    February 16, 2017
    All the Best People is charming from title to final page. I was immediately drawn in to this family's story and found myself rooting for each generation, especially Carole, to find and keep their "happy". I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys uniquely layered, multi-generational tales.
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  • Rick Yoerg
    December 12, 2016
    Sonya Yoerg's insightful novel "All the Best People" looks into the generational aspects of mental illness and does so through a family of remarkably realistic characters that cope with the rigors of thought disorders - or fall into chaos. The three generations of women are challenged by the specter of economic disparity as the boat people of Lake Champlain fail to find acceptance among the respectable class, and the the author opens the question of nature vs.nurture, by revealing the psycholog Sonya Yoerg's insightful novel "All the Best People" looks into the generational aspects of mental illness and does so through a family of remarkably realistic characters that cope with the rigors of thought disorders - or fall into chaos. The three generations of women are challenged by the specter of economic disparity as the boat people of Lake Champlain fail to find acceptance among the respectable class, and the the author opens the question of nature vs.nurture, by revealing the psychologies of her characters through conversations and interactions that make for a great story. Writing about her home state of Vermont, the author draws upon her experiences: the thrill of a large trout on the line, the sensations of a walk through a greasy garage or the donning of a warm sweater on a frigid morning, all are felt vividly. You have to be there - and the author has been.
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  • Susan
    December 12, 2016
    Read this novel in three sittings over two days. The writing is inventive and sophisticated, the story of three generations of women--Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's daughter Alison--is absorbing and believable. The psychological dramas/storylines develop realistically, with taut suspense. I was surprised to find, at the end of the book, that the underlying premise of class discrimination was based on fact. Yet those facts were skillfully woven into the storylines skillful Read this novel in three sittings over two days. The writing is inventive and sophisticated, the story of three generations of women--Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's daughter Alison--is absorbing and believable. The psychological dramas/storylines develop realistically, with taut suspense. I was surprised to find, at the end of the book, that the underlying premise of class discrimination was based on fact. Yet those facts were skillfully woven into the storylines skillfully, so that the reader never feels lectured. I'd call this novel part mystery, part romance and over-all a well-written and believable psychological drama.
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