The Best Kind of People
Written by Zoe Whittall
Publication Date August 27, 2016
Shortlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize
To the shock of his family and community, George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual assault at a prestigious prep school in Connecticut. While he awaits his trial in jail, his family is left to pick up the pieces.
His wife, Joan, a trauma nurse, is unable to triage her emotional reactions, and vaults between rage and denial. Daughter Sadie, the consummate overachiever, finds herself paralyzed on her boyfriend’s couch with a bong, while a local author attempts to exploit her story. Their son, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, assists in his father’s defense while wrestling with the unhappy memories of his own teen years in high school. Unfolding over a one-year period, the novel focuses on the Woodbury family as they struggle to support George while privately grappling with the possibility of his guilt.
With exquisite emotional precision, Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
Zoe Whittall is the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.