Toward the end of last year, my wife and I randomly decided to look at lists of the top 50 or 100 books to read before dying. I think we were trying to figure out which of us had read more “classic” books.
Sadly, my wife has read a lot more of the books from these lists than I have. I shouldn’t really be surprised, though, considering she started and finished two books yesterday alone.
However, I’m glad I read through those lists because it introduced me to books such as A Good Man is Hard to Find .
For those who haven’t read it, it’s apparently one of the books everybody should read before dying, so you should probably get on that.
A Good Man is Hard to Find is a collection of short stories written by Flannery O’Connor in the 50s. All the stories are set in the South, and none of them are what you might call “happily ever after” books.
O’Connor has a sort of dark humor that catches you off guard at times. You might be reading one of the stories and suddenly start thinking “No, no, no. That can’t be happening.”
I’ve never read a collection of short stories, and the hardest thing for me was having enough time to develop a mental picture of the setting and characters. It usually takes me a little while to get everything set up in my mind, and, with these short stories, I didn’t have enough time. I would just be getting everything sorted out when the story would end and I’d be introduced to a new setting and new characters.
That isn’t O’Connor’s fault, and I wouldn’t use that as a reason not to recommend the book to others. If I were to read the book again I’d be able to grasp more of it, since I now have a mental picture for each story.
The writing is great, and the stories are very poetic in how they start and finish. However, you should know that some of the stories involve bad things happening to children. If you know that reading about such topics would be triggering in any way, there are plenty of other well-written books about happier topics.