The One Good Thing by Kevin Alan Milne got passionate mixed reviews from the ladies of book club. However, I’m ranking it as the best book club read so far. This is based on the number of book clubbers who actually read it and the lively discussion this book elicited.
I absolutely love that some readers really liked the positive messaging of The One Good Thing, while other vehemently hated it. Yes, the word hate was used. Differing opinions on what we read is exactly what makes book club so much fun!
If you’ve never heard of The One Good Thing (I hadn’t), here’s a little bit about it.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it’s not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son’s football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.
As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan’s spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan’s selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to “our little girl.” How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?
Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there’s an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all.
The range of reviews for this book was indeed wide. Some enjoyed the feel-good concept of acts of kindness. Others thought the story was predictable, trite and even poorly written. I agree on the predictability – I knew the twist would straighten itself out from the very beginning. The fact that this very nice man was tragically killed at the onset of the book was also a bit of a bummer. But, I liked that the author presented the mystery early on and enjoyed the ease of the read. The “do good” lesson also spoke to me in a positive way. Add to that, one of our thoughtful book club members gifted each of us with a bag of little stones and I call that a win. Thank you Kelly!
Our lovely hostess also served the sweetest handmade chocolates in the form of a little book – adorable and yummy too. Thank you Margaret!
I passed my copy of The One Good Thing to my mother. Mom, have you read it yet? What did you think?
Educated by Tara Westover has come highly recommended and will be book club’s next read. I am looking forward to it.