Sadie Woodbury was in fifth grade when her father saved her from a crazed gunman. She was at her fancy prep school, standing in front of her locker, knowing absolutely nothing about the angry man who had decided he was finished with his girlfriend, the school secretary. Seeing that his daughter was in imminent danger, science teacher George Woodbury tackled him, saving the life of his daughter and anyone else who came between the an and his gun. He was a local hero.
Now Sadie is 17, and though she's still in high school, she's making plans for the rest of her life. She has a boyfriend and good friends and is doing well at school. The future is bright.
And then the police show up at the front door of her parents' house.
George had barely had a chance to tell his wife Joan that there was a bit of kerfluffle at work, that some of the girls are spreading some rumors about him, before the police show up at the front door and take him away in handcuffs. Their attorney shows up shortly thereafter, while the police are conducting their search of the house. Joan feels like she's been hit with a truck. But it has to be a mistake, right? Some miscommunication, or kids making up stories? It just can't be true of George Woodbury, local hero.
As the days go by and Joan and Sadie try to distinguish truth from fiction, they realize that a perfect life can have repercussions that you never could have considered.
Zoe Whittall's The Best Kind of People is one of those books that you'll be hearing about for months to come, as people marvel at its wonder. Already shortlisted for the Giller Price, this novel is a difficult read. Dealing with questions of sex with minors, with consent, with that unclear line where an older adult flirting with a student crosses the line--these are not easy topics to spend time with. But Whittall's intelligence, her clarity, the strength of her characters, and the genius of her narrative all bring the story together to make us think and feel about life a little more fully. If you can handle the topic, you should definitely read The Best Kind of People.
Galleys for The Best Kind of People were provided by Random House publishing Group - Ballentine through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.