The book, A Good American by Alex George, at its heart is a story about the American Dream. The author takes us through the lives of three generations starting with Frederick and Jette Meisenheimer. We are introduced to Frederick and Jette in Germany and follow them as they decide to leave Germany and end up settling in the small town of Beatrice, Missouri.
It is an immigrant story that reminds us the possibility that America gives its immigrants. Frederick strives to be a good American. For him, “[i]n America the future was the only thing that mattered. Frederick turned his back on everything that had gone before, and looked ahead into the bright lights of the young century. Here, a man could reinvent himself” (p. 64). Everything he does is in order to be a good American and he sets this example for generations of his family to come.
The story of the Meisenheimer family is uniquely American. There is the struggle to create a new life in a foreign country and strive to be a good American. We watch as their children and grandchildren grow up as Americans, not Germans. Reminding us that all it takes is one generation and (except for Native Americans) all Americans are descendants of people who took a chance on this country.
It was a marvelous book. I quickly became attached to the Meisenheimer’s celebrating and mourning with them. I became entrapped by the ups, downs and twists of their story and could barely put A Good American down. If you are looking for a new book I highly recommend reading this novel.
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