America is a land of immigrants and a conglomeration of different traditions and cultures from different parts of the world. A Good American is a book that paints a picture of the beginning of twentieth century, when people from different parts of the world were migrating to the US, the land of new opportunities. This is a story of a German couple who had to flee for US and leave their home land behind forever. They reach Beatrice after crossing the Atlantic, and begin their new journey in the US along with millions of displaced individuals trying to gather from, and contribute to a society that was still laying its foundations. The story of Jette and Fredrick is narrated by their grandson, and the story expands along with the expansion of the identity of United States of America.
The new home of the Meisenheimer family is full of challenges and pleasant surprises. Their life has been catapulted into a flux of experiences that force them to work on their beliefs and understanding. They meet a jazz musician who is an exceptional cook, a friendly teacher who imparts various lessons along with the lessons on music. They come across different intriguing personalities and discover the beauty in the diversity of the region. The story moves along various significant events in the history, and gives a insiders perspective on the different turmoils of an individual preparing to pick up weapons for killing another being, and specifically from a country what was once his homeland.
The book through the different incidences that occur in the family tries to show the struggle and rejoicing of various immigrants who chose to be in the US and make it a great nation that it is today. The craving for peace of an individual mind is not separated from his longing to find permanent happiness that can be experienced in our true homeland, towards which each individual is moving gradually, while searching for it.
The glorious story of America, has taken a lot of years in making, and blood, sweat, and tears of many people have gone into the making of what we now know as the American story. The juxtapositions of feelings and events have been done with great expertise. The clash of traditional and cultural understandings of past with those of the present can drag people into a violent introspection of their conscience, this book has one too many tales on such episodes. The author tries to portray the lives of a good American family through the various deeds and ideals of the Meisenheimer family.
The yin and the yang in life, and the cyclic trail that it entails, brings the desire for stability in people and helps them to strive to achieve the balance in life. The book, A Good American is a semi-biography of the land of America and its people, as they moved through various evolutionary phases of political and economical transitions.