Good to A Fault

Good to A Fault

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
After Clara Purdy gets into a car crash, the bruises of the mother in the other car turn out to be late-stage cancer, prompting Clara to take in the mother's three children and their grandmother while the mother fights to beat her disease.


“There’s heartbreak, there’s joy, there are parts where you cry—and it’s very high quality writing. Well done!”
— Margaret Atwood

“Unpretentious and affecting, with characters to remember and themes that linger and resound.”
— Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Ten-Year Nap

Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault wrings suspense and humor out of the everyday choices we make, revealing the delicate balance between sacrifice and self-interest, between doing good and being good. In the vein of the novels of Carol Shields and Ann Patchett, Good to a Fault is a “witty, wise. . . . [and] brilliantly paced” (Colm Tóibín) delight.

& Taylor

After Clara Purdy gets into a car crash with a family vehicle, the bruises of the mother in the other car turn out to actually be late-stage cancer, prompting Clara to take in the mother's three children and their grandmother while the mother fights her disease, in a novel that explores goodness, guilt and selfish desire. Winner of the Giller Prize. 30,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Harpercollins, 2010
ISBN: 9780061825897
Characteristics: 367 p. ; 23 cm


From the critics

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brianreynolds Jan 31, 2014

The opening chapters of Marina Endicott’s very quiet but very sweet Good to a Fault left me with that helpless apprehension which comes from watching a likeable character make one well-meaning but unfortunate move after another. Sticking with it, however, was a most rewarding experience. Without lecturing or dithering, Endicott concocts a journey that entertains on many levels. She unravels an almost allegoric yarn about trying to be good—one that ends with a very palatable combination of certainty and uncertainty, a dash of archetypal romance, a dollop of comic union and enough substance to satisfy a reader looking for much more than the simple sum of the parts.

Nov 11, 2012

Finished this Nov 1? 2012. While I enjoyed reading this book, it just didn't thrill me. Just too many readily available helpers around when she needed them. Real life just doesn't work that way! I think I picked it out when shelving books at the library.

May 28, 2012

This is about being useful and being used.

samdog123 Mar 14, 2012

You've heard of the Neverending story? Well, this is the Neverending book, with few redeeming qualities. I've been wanting to read it for awhile, but am wondering why?

Nov 10, 2011

- Clara, a quasi-spinster in her early 40s.
The white-trash family she drives into:
- Lorraine, her husband Clayton, their children Dolly,Trevor and Pearce, Mrs. Pell her mother-in-law
- Darwin, Lorraine's brother.
- Grace, Clara's cousin, Moreland her husband and Fern her daugher
- Paul, the pastor and Clara's future lover

Why does Clara open her house to total strangers? How good is she? Who is taking advantage of whom?

Clara is so busy preparing her house for the family she crashed into, that she forgets to assign herself a bed in her own home. It didn't bode well! However, her character like all others in the book are layered, complexed and described with great empathy.

A book that stays with you quietly. Decent people are so much more complicated and fascinating than what we first perceive of them.

A great book for a book club

Oct 11, 2011

great story. Happy ending only conclusion, perhaps , though I can ee going in the other direc tion. Because the single career is 'good to a fault'. Really fun characters, especilly the family she takes on after hitting their car. A really fun read.

Jul 04, 2011

Brilliant, touching, wonderful in every way. I couldn't wait for the ending, while not wanting it to end. Read it. You'll see.

thehammer Jun 19, 2011

Great book. Recommended.

hermlou Apr 12, 2011

Well written story of a childless woman who cares for a stranger's three children. Endicott captures the feelings of the woman and of the children, and all the characters are very human. I won't give away more of the plot, but it takes the reader through pride and sorrow, just as life does. I enjoyed it and will read her other books.

Mar 25, 2011

Canada Reads 2010 contender. Starts with a car collision.Clara feels at fault takes on the children of the couplein the other car. The wife is dying of cancer and the husband disappears.

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Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

Everybody was dying, or already dead, or leaving other people, and the year was dying into winter, and the only thing to do was make some noise.

Dec 27, 2008

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13)


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