Shortlisted for the Giller Prize • A local schoolteacher is arrested for a heinous crime, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.
Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct—with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence—is it possible?—Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.
Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.
– Praise from Canada for The Best Kind of People.
“[Zoe] Whittall’s intuitive understanding of human nature makes The Best Kind of People a gripping novel, one that shines a light on family dynamics under extreme pressure.”—The Vancouver Sun
“Whittall’s undisputed talent as a writer shines, as does her understanding into the complexity of our sympathies, our morality, and our humanity. With incredible empathy and undeniable skill this book is sure to spark much-needed dialogue, vital debate, and richly deserved acclaim.”—Stacey May Fowles, author of Infidelity
“The Best Kind of People examines the effects of rape culture on an entire community with rare nuance and insight. Every character is fully rounded, flawed, and achingly human. It puts me in mind of a twenty-first-century Ordinary People.”—Kate Harding, author of Asking for It
“This may just be Whittall’s breakout novel, and deservedly so.”—The Winnipeg Review
“Taut, compassionate and clever.”—Toronto Star
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall is a stunning piece of fiction. It had the same intensity as the To Kill a Mockingbird and as The Crucible. All three novels were based on false accusations that built up into a nightmare. Destroying many lives. While it wasn’t as bad as The Crucible it certainly held the same kind of trouble.
Watching how a man went from town hero to a victim of lies. Lies that were set up by young girls. Their lies brought a once closely held family to the ruins. A father sent off to jail, a wife feeling wary about her husband, and a daughter trying to deal with the torments at school. Zoe Whittall shows us, readers, that even the best kind of people can fall victim to cruelty and lies. George Woodbury a fellow teacher, husband, and father is wrongly accused of raping innocent girls. Yet these girls were far from innocent…they were the tormentors. Bullying, drugs, coming out, and marriage are just some of the strong themes present inside this captivating novel. It all felt so real. The pressure built to a point that I felt like all were drowning along with the victim. The whole Woodbury family were victims to slander. Sad, heartbreaking, and believable. This is a must read for all. I recommend this page-turning tale to readers everywhere.