Life was fine for Tom Good, called Good by almost everyone. He was actually getting paid to play music, started the band Point Blank, and penned three hits that became forever lodged in his generation's collective memory. Then, for no apparent reason and to everyone's surprise, he walked away from it all.
That was more than twenty years ago. Now Good has settled into a low-key life, writing and recording songs in his closet studio during the day and bartending in a San Diego music club at night. He feels so grounded and secure in his well-established routines with regard to his relationships, his clothes, his food, and his apartment, that minor alterations in these rituals can cause him to break out into a sweat. But the carefully crafted predictability of his life flies out the window the day Good learns that one of his old girlfriends is the single mother of a ten-year-old boy who looks just like him.
Sara Lewis, who won readers over with her previous novels, including Second Draft of My Life and The Answer Is Yes, once again reveals the ironies of everyday life with her signature humor and poignancy. The Best of Good is an irresistible tale of coming-of-age at the mid-point in life.
A middle-aged musician attempts to catapult himself into a belated adulthood in Lewis's (Second Draft of My Life) mildly amusing fifth novel. Tom Good, a 47-year-old San Diego-area bartender with a susceptibility to "music-induced flashbacks," is going about his usual business (eating frozen dinners, plucking gray hairs, writing songs in his closet studio and dodging responsibility and change) until he gets a startling piece of news: he might be a father. When a friend informs Good that a beautiful former girlfriend is the single mother of a boy with his "same dark hair with that cowlick over here, same mouth," Good reaches out. Diana isn't too keen on re-establishing a relationship, and her 10-year-old son, Jack, isn't wild about it, either. But Good begins to examine his life, anyway: the reasons he left his band before hitting it big (though he still gets royalties from their songs), the pain his brother's death caused him, the reasons he feels so isolated and confused. He buys a bunch of new furniture and housewares, too ("I tried to throw stuff away that looked messy or made me seem immature"), but becoming an adult just isn't that easy. Still, his good intentions mean friendly exchanges with an elderly neighbor and a growing warmth between him and the single mother of the cute but noisy brood next door. Lewis gives Good an authentic (and sometimes slightly pathetic) voice, and readers may find themselves rooting for a man who's finally realizing what it means to be one.