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The Whole Golden World

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An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?" To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?" To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill. Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man. Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Dinah, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.


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An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?" To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and An astonishing novel from the acclaimed author of Keepsake that pushes the boundaries of storytelling. At turns shocking, provocative, and heart-wrenching, and inspired by a true story The Whole Golden World forces us to ask the question "How well do we really know our children?" To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill. Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man. Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Dinah, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.

30 review for The Whole Golden World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Delee

    3.5 Let me just start by saying- I am NOT a monster! I am capable of empathy. And I am THE person my friends call up when they have done something reeeeeally bad- because they know I won't judge them, but the characters in THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD were just not people I liked or sympathized with at all. The novel is told from three women's POV- The Women: Dinah Monetti- Mother of three, and owner of "The Den" a coffee lounge and student hangout. Married to Joe Monetti- the absent father and Assistant 3.5 Let me just start by saying- I am NOT a monster! I am capable of empathy. And I am THE person my friends call up when they have done something reeeeeally bad- because they know I won't judge them, but the characters in THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD were just not people I liked or sympathized with at all. The novel is told from three women's POV- The Women: Dinah Monetti- Mother of three, and owner of "The Den" a coffee lounge and student hangout. Married to Joe Monetti- the absent father and Assistant Principal of his daughter's high school- Dinah is the parent that is the most present in her kids lives, but although she has a vicious temper with outsiders- her children can do no wrong in her eyes. Morgan Monetti- Dinah's 17-almost 18-year-old daughter- who wallows in the misery that is her life by writing sad poems. She is beautiful, smart, and talented, and has two parents that love her and provide her with most everything she needs, but she feels un-loved, and goes running to her math teacher T.J. Hill- to fill the void in her life. Rain Hill- T.J.s wife. Rain is maaaadly in love with her idiot husband, and will never be completely happy until he impregnates her. When she is not reveling in how lucky she is T.J. chose her as his bride, she is whining about not being pregnant. The Villain: T.J Hill- Morgan's 29-year-old married high school math teacher- T.J is unhappy with his life even though- he has a beautiful wife who worships the ground he walks on, a good job, a nice home, and is ridiculously goooood loooking...but T.J. wants more. His brother Greg is a doctor- He has a better house, a better car, a better job. Life is sooooo unfair. The Plot: What starts out as after school gab sessions between Morgan and T.J- turns into a forbidden romance with horrible consequences. Anyone reading this review may think I didn't like THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD- No...that is not the case- It made me angry most of the time, the characters were frustrating and self-centered...but I just couldn't stop turning the pages.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is not a comfortable book to read but I found it relevant and intriguing. The story centers around Morgan, an honor student who feels stifled by the responsibilities of being a back-up mother to her 14 year old brothers who were born premature and fraternal twins. Morgan's mother has never recovered from the scare of almost losing them and may be a little on the hovering side. She expects Morgan to do the same when she (Dinah) can not be around at school. Meanwhile, Dinah's husband, Joe, is This is not a comfortable book to read but I found it relevant and intriguing. The story centers around Morgan, an honor student who feels stifled by the responsibilities of being a back-up mother to her 14 year old brothers who were born premature and fraternal twins. Morgan's mother has never recovered from the scare of almost losing them and may be a little on the hovering side. She expects Morgan to do the same when she (Dinah) can not be around at school. Meanwhile, Dinah's husband, Joe, is an assistant principal at the high school. He is the eyes and ears at the school. Imagine his chagrin when his children get in trouble. But not Morgan. She's the one people forget about because she has so much good sense. She is wise beyond her years. You can see where this is going, can't you? TJ is a young teacher carrying his own baggage. He lives in the shadow of his successful brother who married a beautiful Italian woman, went to medical school, became a doctor, and lives in a beautiful house. He's bitter and obsessed with his lack. TJ is married to Rain, a woman who is his educational and intellectual inferior. She came from a trashy home but she was loved. She feels lucky to have TJ. TJ feels lucky to have her. But Rain wants a baby. It eats away at their relationship. Morgan and TJ become friends at school. And then more. The opening scene is a court room. TJ has allegedly had a sexual relationship with a student, Morgan. Morgan's parents support the prosecution. Morgan is on the side of the defendant. She is livid at her parents. The story then flashes back to the beginning of the school year and how the situation evolved. The author does an extraordinary job developing the relationships between the characters. The reader is not force fed the dynamics but left with enough detail to understand how each character might have the interpretations he or she has. It also underlines the culpability of all of the players in the story with the bolded context that the age difference is not as much the issue as the covert exploitation of power. Make no mistake that you will feel empathy for TJ. He feels greatly victimized and in some ways he is. But the bottom line is that he is held to a higher standard because of his position as a teacher and Morgan as a student. The author explores all of the feelings of the characters as they are conflicting and understandable. It is a well written book with an ending that is natural yet somewhat heartbreaking. I liked the ending, just to clarify. It's a good book. Just not comfortable to consider.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dana ****Reads Alot****

    What did I think? So much to really think about.A family torn apart in so many ways. Dinah the overbearing mother, Joe the never around assistance vice principle..twin boys who you would think are still toddlers the way Dinah caters to them but they are teeeeennnaggerrs. Not preemies anymore. geesh. Then there is Morgan who is a senior who has the weight on her shoulders of taking care of her brothers and helping with homework while mom runs her little cafe called The Den. All Morgan can think i What did I think? So much to really think about.A family torn apart in so many ways. Dinah the overbearing mother, Joe the never around assistance vice principle..twin boys who you would think are still toddlers the way Dinah caters to them but they are teeeeennnaggerrs. Not preemies anymore. geesh. Then there is Morgan who is a senior who has the weight on her shoulders of taking care of her brothers and helping with homework while mom runs her little cafe called The Den. All Morgan can think if is applying for a college far away. Who can blame her. Then she falls for her teacher Mr. Hill who is married and they start a... one sided affair. He was just using her but Morgan thought they actually had a relationship. She was the pursurer in this one but he could of said no and used his head. Morgan was obsessed and in her mind she thought he was also....not so. TJ was still happily married and Rain his wife wanted a baby so badly that she would do anything even a fertility clinic , which was a pain in the arse for Tj so he decides to have an affair. Wow. Good reason right??? Well Morgan and Mr. Hill get caught and their worlds just are not so golden anymore on either side. The people they hurt and the people they destroyed. What bothered me the most was Morgan had no remorse for hurting Rain. Even after the talk..she was still in denial. I would of got a loudspeaker and screamed the truth in her ear. She still would been like....he loves me....ughh I really wanted to clunk her a few times. Awesome written book that really makes you think about things and consequences of ones actions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura Kay Bolin

    http://www.anovelreview.blogspot.com/... What a book. We hear stories in the news way to often about teacher/student 'relationships' more often than we should. I went into this novel pretty open minded. I really wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure how everything would play out. 17 year old Morgan crushes on her Math teacher, TJ Hill. He is good looking, youngish, and the 'fun' teacher always there to listen and take an interest in his students. Morgan is mature and a good student. She has been http://www.anovelreview.blogspot.com/... What a book. We hear stories in the news way to often about teacher/student 'relationships' more often than we should. I went into this novel pretty open minded. I really wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure how everything would play out. 17 year old Morgan crushes on her Math teacher, TJ Hill. He is good looking, youngish, and the 'fun' teacher always there to listen and take an interest in his students. Morgan is mature and a good student. She has been a huge help as a 'little mother' to her younger twin brothers. After a break-up with her boyfriend, Morgan begins to feel less connected to her fellow classmates. TJ is teaching a class that is really pressing him, while at home his wife, Rain is pushing him non-stop about having a baby. Morgan and TJ open up to one another, a inappropriate relationship ensues. Once the relationship is found out, Morgan's parents expect Morgan to believe she is a victim. They expect the entire town to believe she is a victim, but they are shocked to by reactions. Even Rain stands by her man, believing TJ is the victim. The story is told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana (Morgan's mother), and Rain. I read the book from the perspective of former teenage girl, mother of a teenage girl, and as a wife. Riggle nailed all three perspectives. I really tried to relate to each character with the same perspective and I felt overwhelmed with mixed feelings. I mean TJ is guilty...but jail? One side was like oh heck yeah what a pervert, another side was like well...it's not like she is a kid, I mean she is almost a legal adult. For me the best part of the novel that really put the spotlight on the real truth is when Diana talks to the media. I won't give anything away, but she really puts it all in perspective. I found myself relating to each character on some level. With Morgan, I was a dumb teenager--I did find this a little harder now that I've gotten older, lol. Diana is trying to be a good mom, but clearly allowed too much of the caring for her twins on Morgan. Not only is Diana busy, she also tends to coddle her children (been guilty of this myself). She is not doing them any good. She works hard to make it all better. Rain, might be hard for some women to relate to. She is obsessed with her desire to get pregnant and her willingness to stand by TJ. I respected how Rain wanted everything to be ok, get back to normal. For me, the best part of the novel is the growth of each character. It's not immediate, they don't always see things right off the bat. However, over time they all open their eyes and begin seeing what others have told them. Those mixed feelings I had though a large part of the novel, they too changed...evolved. I believe Kristina Riggle didn't just tell a story, she really presses us to examine how we look at our young teens. I am highly recommending THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Melodrama, and poorly executed melodrama. I didn't know that was possible. Cliche, tinny characters, with a predictable soap opera story line. Maybe my first clue as to what awaited me was reading that one of the main characters was named Rain. I blanched at the name immediately but set it aside as a nit going full in with an open mind. Nope. Not a nit. A friend gave me this book. She has not read it yet. Perhaps I can save her the time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Franzi

    I'd give this book 4.25 Stars ;-) (Trying to be more critical!). I read it because of an recommendation and it's just a topic that I like to read about in general. (Teacher & student relationship, no...I'm not a pervert :P) At first I thought that this might be quite similar to other books in that genre and I was a bit taken aback because we get to know about the outcome of everything in the first chapter already. But, at the same time it's a book that's quite different. First of all, the story is I'd give this book 4.25 Stars ;-) (Trying to be more critical!). I read it because of an recommendation and it's just a topic that I like to read about in general. (Teacher & student relationship, no...I'm not a pervert :P) At first I thought that this might be quite similar to other books in that genre and I was a bit taken aback because we get to know about the outcome of everything in the first chapter already. But, at the same time it's a book that's quite different. First of all, the story is told from the point of view of three women. The student, her mother & the wife of the teacher. It's certainly no New Adult erotica or anything. It really deals with the emotional rollercoaster you go through when you are a teenager and think you are on top of the world and trying to behave like an adult. But deep down, you are not, and you only see it this way when you are older and are able to reflect on your feelings for a while. I really loved that it's not just a lovey dovey romance, but focuses more on what stays after & how it all influences the life of the people around you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Denise MacDonald

    This was the first book I read by Kristina Riggle and it was amazing. While touching on a very sensitive, controversial subject it was a great story. It was very well written and the characters were developed so well I felt like I knew them all. There was only one thing in the whole book that I didn't understand- DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE BOOK (view spoiler)[ I couldn't understand why TJ agreed to change his plea because his wife said so. He did not strike me as the type of person This was the first book I read by Kristina Riggle and it was amazing. While touching on a very sensitive, controversial subject it was a great story. It was very well written and the characters were developed so well I felt like I knew them all. There was only one thing in the whole book that I didn't understand- DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE BOOK (view spoiler)[ I couldn't understand why TJ agreed to change his plea because his wife said so. He did not strike me as the type of person who would do this. He seemed more self serving than that. It didn't make any sense to have him do this other than to create the ending that the author wanted. (hide spoiler)] I could not put this book down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”’Sun will not be restrained bursts the seam of the sky spilling beneath the ashen dome setting alight the whole golden world” As wide and varied as my reading tastes tend to be, I don’t tend to veer towards women’s fiction that often. Maybe because I’m not deemed ‘old enough’ to be reading that genre, but I’ve never had the urges or tendencies to read books of that nature. And when I do, they’re often chick-lity in form. But this book was surprisingly good. And with such sticky subject matters s ”’Sun will not be restrained bursts the seam of the sky spilling beneath the ashen dome setting alight the whole golden world” As wide and varied as my reading tastes tend to be, I don’t tend to veer towards women’s fiction that often. Maybe because I’m not deemed ‘old enough’ to be reading that genre, but I’ve never had the urges or tendencies to read books of that nature. And when I do, they’re often chick-lity in form. But this book was surprisingly good. And with such sticky subject matters such as the ones talked about here, the author made it seem natural. Dinah Monetti never thought she would be where she is now; in a courtroom waiting for the trail of TJ Miller, the high school teacher her daughter Morgan has been having a sexual relationship with. ”Her own mother had exclaimed, ’How could you let this happen?’ Dinah had been outraged at the time and railed at her mother for the lack of support. But in the darkest hours of the night, Dinah continued to ask herself the very same question.” Even worse, she never thought her daughter would sit on his side of the courtroom, cutting ties with her family almost completely. This is one nail in the preverbal coffin that Dinah didn’t need; her coffee shop is declining in sales, her preemie twin boys are being mainstreamed into public schools, and her relationships with both her husband and Morgan are severely strained. Likewise, Morgan Monetti has had enough with her mother’s overbearing smothering and constant attention given to her bratty twin brothers. The only way TO get attention is to act out. She never expected it would be in the form of her high school calculus teacher. But he gets her in a way those the immature teenage boys her own age never will. ”’We love each other we really do; that’s what no one gets. I didn’t ruin everything for nothing, or because I’m a stupid kid, who didn’t know better.’” And that’s what no one understands; he loves her, treats her like the adult she is. Nothing could ever come between them, right? Right? Rain Miller has been happily married to TJ for a long time, but something has always been missing; a baby. They’ve been trying to a while now, but to no avail. And quickly, the idea of conceiving a child becomes an obsession for Rain. For TJ, not so much. She never realized that this obsession of hers would drive him away and to a person she never expected her husband to be with. ”Rain thought, ’This is my forever.’ She’d earlier thought the trial was the ‘worse’ in ‘for better or for worse’ but now she could see that wasn’t so. The ‘worse’ would be the collective years of this.” Likewise, her husband always prided himself in the fact that he’s been faithful to Rain. But with her being overwhelmingly distracted lately by the prospect of having a baby, he feels like she doesn’t understand him. The girl from his sixth period calculus class, on the other hand… ”The judge was talking, but TJ couldn’t hear a thing over a voice chanting in his head, What have you done? What have you done? What have you done?” Usually, multiple POVs aren’t my thing. Four POVs sounded like a total nightmare to me, but surprisingly, it worked. The alternating voices allowed the reader to get a chance to know each of the characters individually, and for each of the four POVs to allow you to decide whose side you believed. I love it when an author plays with your mind like that. Let’s get one thing straight, though; none of the characters are exactly likable. Dinah is one of those dreaded mothers who believes that her children are precious little angels who can do nothing wrong.She’s every teachers worst nightmare because she’s always making excuses for her children and letting them get away with seemingly serious things because she doesn’t want to hurt their fragile ego ”When Dinah flinched away from Morgan and stared at her own clenched hands, she began to picture herself as she must appear to everyone else: the failed mother whose golden child turned out to be just another girl gone bad.” Her daughter Morgan is an absolute teenage terror on wheels and just proves my point that teenage girls are the most frightening species on this planet. She’s privileged, whiny, rebellious, and extremely annoying who thinks about the actions first and the consequences never. Rain is a dishwater of a woman who basically just lives to whine about T.J.’s disinterest and be jealous of every estrogen laced entity of this world. And T.J. is a despicable lout who can’t keep his pants on for a hot minute and is about the most arrogant jerk I’ve read about since… well, I can’t quite remember, but it’s been a while And yet for some magical reason, the author manages to also make you feel sorry for these characters. I think this is the beauty in multiple POV; it positively plays with your emotions to the extent that you don’t know how to feel about the characters. Dinah is a mother harried by her children basically on her own since her husband is absent most of the time. Morgan is going through the typical teenage phase of wanting to not be seen as a child; something I’m sure we could all somewhat relate to when we were teenagers. ”She felt like she was peeling off the old Morgan like dead skin. Or better yet: The new, adult Morgan was burning her way out, phoenix-like.” Although Rain may be a dishwater, her actions and behavior were somewhat understandable if you have experienced infertility or trouble conceiving. You may even feel an ounce of sympathy for T.J. in the beginning (I say in the beginning because his behavior gradually becomes more dickish as the story progresses). Very much a character driven novel, the tense writing that leads to a bombshell conclusion will no doubt have you biting your nails and on the edge of your chair. This is so much more than a book about a student/teacher affair; the morals and motives behind each of these intricately complicated characters will have your judgments and opinions swinging like a pendulum as your sympathies continually shift. While the characters could be frustrating, it’s in a good way that will have you thinking about them long after you close the book. ”’Why? Why him? You’re a pretty girl and could have dated anybody.’ ‘I don’t really know, I think I liked who I was in his eyes.’ ‘Who was that, then?’ ‘Myself as the adult I wanted to be. Grown up, wise, beautiful.’”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ems. (afternoonbookery)

    I picked this up after seeing it in a haul video, and i had high hopes for it. Telling the relationship of student/teacher affair , something of taboo topic, right up my street. So we start the story at the trial of the TJ(the teacher) and we travel back in time and learn of the events that led to the trial taking place. We see the narrative told through the eyes of three main characters. Morgan (the student) who to me, was an old soul and a very likeable character who just seemed a little lost I picked this up after seeing it in a haul video, and i had high hopes for it. Telling the relationship of student/teacher affair , something of taboo topic, right up my street. So we start the story at the trial of the TJ(the teacher) and we travel back in time and learn of the events that led to the trial taking place. We see the narrative told through the eyes of three main characters. Morgan (the student) who to me, was an old soul and a very likeable character who just seemed a little lost in life, wanting to be a head of her years and reminding me slightly of characters i have met before. I instantly found myself warming to her and wanting to know why things had panned out the way they had for her. We are also introduced to Dinah, Morgans mum - who whilst she had strong characterists just didnt stand out too much to me, just a mum is the way to describe her. Finally we also meet TJs wife, Rain who is the lovliest character i have ever come across, all she wanted in life was to be a mum with her husband, and life didnt treat her to that. The narrative follows the story through the eyes of all these as the time passes and the events unfold. ♥ Love is hard to find and easy to lose, same as anything small and precious ♥ Riggle did a wonderful job of building the foundations of the relationships that occured in this book but for that reason it was a bit slow paced, i understand why she did it - but i wanted it to move a bit faster. However as the story panned out, i saw the reason why what was done. She made the characters beilevable and from the get go , i disliked TJ, there was something about him i wasnt keen on, he wasnt trustworthy and i am sure that was intentional. The only thing was, when i finished the book i felt very lack lustre, most of my questions were answereed but i felt it was still a bit unfinished for me, although i dont know what i expected. I felt attached the characters and i wanted to know more of their life, but i just found it almost an anti climax for me, maybe it was because i got so sucked in and engrossed in the book itself. I cant really describe it. Overall though - it was a good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joy Matteson

    2.5 stars. I feel like there are contemporary women authors who write about family drama to explore the worst, so that it won't happen to them. What if my daughter has sex with a teacher, but falls in love with him? What if that teacher doesn't get put away for good? Not that one should only read books where happy things happen to characters, but this one seemed steeped in melodrama. I found myself beyond annoyed with all the characters--the helicopter mom who has fits of rage with a school prin 2.5 stars. I feel like there are contemporary women authors who write about family drama to explore the worst, so that it won't happen to them. What if my daughter has sex with a teacher, but falls in love with him? What if that teacher doesn't get put away for good? Not that one should only read books where happy things happen to characters, but this one seemed steeped in melodrama. I found myself beyond annoyed with all the characters--the helicopter mom who has fits of rage with a school principal, the naive yoga teacher who is oblivious to everything except getting pregnant while unaware of her husband's affair, or the assistant principal dad who could care less about his family than about getting ahead in his career. They seemed like caricatures, not real people. Oh well. They can't all be winners!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Misty Vauble

    Actually 4.5 I cod not stop reading this when things allowed. That said I compare it to a train wreck. I didn't necessarily enjoy it in terms of entertainment , but I couldn't look away from what happened next. In all honestly I did not like any of the characters. I felt bad for Morgan at first but I eventually disliked her as well. I sincerely hope my younger brother does not resent me as she did her brothers. TJ I wanted to take a long walk of a short bridge. He was just A selfish a** Raln well Actually 4.5 I cod not stop reading this when things allowed. That said I compare it to a train wreck. I didn't necessarily enjoy it in terms of entertainment , but I couldn't look away from what happened next. In all honestly I did not like any of the characters. I felt bad for Morgan at first but I eventually disliked her as well. I sincerely hope my younger brother does not resent me as she did her brothers. TJ I wanted to take a long walk of a short bridge. He was just A selfish a** Raln well I just wanted to tell her to find some self esteem and or smack it into her if possible . Despite disliking the characters I felt the story was well done and well written because as I said had life cooperated it would have beena very fast read

  12. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I want to give this 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read- I definitely did not want to put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime to read. My complaint is that most of the characters felt a little one-dimensional and sometimes the dialogue felt stifled and cliche. Honestly, it really didn't take away from the story for me, so I read on - and I hate to take away stars for that, because it might even be a 4 star book, but it is what it is. Either way, it's a great stor I want to give this 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read- I definitely did not want to put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime to read. My complaint is that most of the characters felt a little one-dimensional and sometimes the dialogue felt stifled and cliche. Honestly, it really didn't take away from the story for me, so I read on - and I hate to take away stars for that, because it might even be a 4 star book, but it is what it is. Either way, it's a great story and very readable. Check it out!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is another one of those books that I inexplicably CANNOT PUT DOWN. I can't say exactly what gets me so hooked: the view into the inner workings of the main characters' minds and lives? The scandalous, underage-love-triangle of the plot? The way the chapters alternate between viewpoints? I can't put my finger on it, but I had to read "The Whole Golden World" until the very end, no interruptions. I highly recommend it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    3.5 stars for sure. The whole time I was reading this I wanted some understanding of why, why did the teacher have the affair with the student and what's with the student? It seemed as though these characters had the some old usual flaws that are found in many stories. But towards the end of the story Morgan, the student said "...do people who get in trouble ever make any sense?" Well said.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    Sadly the story in in this book is reality for to many communities. Even my own community is dealing with this scandal in its High School. While reading this it becomes apparent that no one is innocent. Except for Rain, everyone shares some of the blame, TJ more than anyone. I found this to be a well written book depicting student/teacher relationships.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christy Campbell

    As for the review, loved it, found it fascinating in a corrupt way and I read it in less than two days. The phrase "hot for teacher" is beyond true in this sense. I do think people would not be as interested however, if the disgraced teacher and his lovestruck student weren't so good looking. I believe that physical beauty makes quite a difference.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    I have read other books by this author and to be honest good stories but average in any standing out kind of way. Now this one I say is her best work yet. This delivers a thought provoking engrossing tale of right and wrong and all the on between that happens based on choices. Adult choices and teenagers who think they are mature in their choices.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    2.5, really. Gah. It took me a year to finish it. I don't think I've ever rolled my eyes as much as I did while reading this book. The author could've cut a third of it without hurting the story at all. Too many errors, too many narrative voices, too many unnecessary details. Eh. I'm underwhelmed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    MeggieBree

    I loved this book! I couldn't put it down. All of the characters were quite flawed, which definitely made it more realistic for me, and I loved witnessing the women's character development throughout even though they all made me crazy at times!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mama K

    Despite the fact I found the "teacher" in this book despicable and that I never found sympathy for the "girl" in the book and the "wife" of the "teacher' took too long to grow a pair, I absolutely LOVED this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth Lind

    A teacher has an affair with a 17 year old student (who technically is of the age of consent but legally unacceptable because of the teacher-student relationship) and the fallout is huge for everyone. The book is a bit long but it’s good.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Davis

    2.76. Would have been better if the characters were actually likeable. Also, very anticlimactic which is sometimes fine but not in this case.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    The Whole Golden World was a very moving and engrossing read from the start. The book managed to tell a “ripped from the headlines” story with emotion, heart, and hope. Many times books with multiple points of views have been a hit or miss with me, with one point of view or voice endearing themselves to me more so than the others leading to an imbalance in the entertainment factor of the book. However, Kristina Riggle handled the three points of view, Dinah (the mother), Morgan (the daughter) an The Whole Golden World was a very moving and engrossing read from the start. The book managed to tell a “ripped from the headlines” story with emotion, heart, and hope. Many times books with multiple points of views have been a hit or miss with me, with one point of view or voice endearing themselves to me more so than the others leading to an imbalance in the entertainment factor of the book. However, Kristina Riggle handled the three points of view, Dinah (the mother), Morgan (the daughter) and Rain (the wife), wonderfully in a way that saw each female character endearing themselves to me. This balance between them really made the book work and gave it its heart. The majority of the credit goes to Riggle’s writing. She had a way of eliciting some form of reaction or emotion from me as I read through each character’s story. As I mentioned before, Riggle balanced each point of view well where I didn’t feel like one perspective was more compelling or interesting than the other (which unfortunately has happened with other books). Each narrative felt like it was interconnected; never feeling like one was out of place. They each added another layer to the story, giving it a richness and depth that made the story so engrossing. Along with the writing, Riggle created these sympathetic and real characters. Dinah, Morgan, Rain were all characters with their own strengths and weakness that were highlighted equally. There were multiple times where I like them but also saw their faults where I didn’t like them as much. Riggle did a good job of immersing us into the minds of a mother, teenage girl and a wife with their own set of motivations, feelings, and problems. You really got a sense of who they were and led you to understand where they were coming from whether you agreed with them or not. I admired how this humanity was portrayed in each of them. Just as in real life there is no clear cut good and bad or right and wrong and how each of us must take responsibility for our own actions and hope to learn from them. This book went beyond the controversial nature of this type of issue. Riggle did well in illustrating the human quality behind a story like this. During these current times, these types of stories reach the realm of hyped entertainment and overshadow the fact that these are actually people who are involved. So it’s nice to come across a book that serves as a reminder of this fact. Even though this was a fictional story inspired by a real life news headline, it still resonates the human quality that’s behind stories such as these.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Ardoin

    This is the second book I've read that deals with the subject of a student/teacher affair, but I must say this one resonated with me a lot more. Though there were a wide cast of characters in the novel, I think any given reader could find themselves identifying with not just one, but several of those affected by the actions of the affair. I think what I appreciated most about this novel is that each and every one of the characters was just so human. From Morgan, the 17 year old who feels not good This is the second book I've read that deals with the subject of a student/teacher affair, but I must say this one resonated with me a lot more. Though there were a wide cast of characters in the novel, I think any given reader could find themselves identifying with not just one, but several of those affected by the actions of the affair. I think what I appreciated most about this novel is that each and every one of the characters was just so human. From Morgan, the 17 year old who feels not good enough, to TJ, the teacher who is tired of being berated by his wife, Rain, and all the way to Morgan's mother Dinah...no one is fully either a sinner or a saint. I couldn't believe the range of emotions Kristina Riggle brought me through, and by the end of the book, I had changed my initial opinion of nearly every single character. The one problem I had was that the symbolism and motivations were a bit too conspicuous sometimes. Morgan has one huge insecurity that keeps being mentioned again and again, and she even writes poetry that contains some very heavy handed metaphors. I suppose it kind of annoyed me that the reader was being spoon-fed this type of information--I prefer to find and decipher the symbolism in books for myself, thanks. I can't say that the book had what I would exactly call a happy ending, but I think after seeing what each character had to separately go though, that each ended up where they belonged. No one escaped without some kind of damage being done, and it really makes you think about the selfish decisions we make each day and how we don't think about who they will affect. This book should appeal to readers in their twenties and thirties, both those young enough to remember the bad decisions of their teenage years, and those at an age to wish they had those years back. I think women, particularly, and book clubs, will love this stellar offering.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue Seligman

    This is a story taken right from recent headlines. A young girl becomes romantically involved with her math teacher and the events surrounding this situation comprise the progression of this novel. The reader learns about the issues in girl's family; her younger twin brothers are experiencing learning and behavioral issues as high school freshmen, her dad is the assistant principal in her school, and her mother is trying to keep her coffee shop catering to teens afloat in the community. Morgan h This is a story taken right from recent headlines. A young girl becomes romantically involved with her math teacher and the events surrounding this situation comprise the progression of this novel. The reader learns about the issues in girl's family; her younger twin brothers are experiencing learning and behavioral issues as high school freshmen, her dad is the assistant principal in her school, and her mother is trying to keep her coffee shop catering to teens afloat in the community. Morgan has recently endured a break-up and is navigating the college application process, feeling alone and confused, pressured to be the "perfect child". We also get a glimpse into the teacher's life; he and his wife are consumed with infertility problems, and he is dealing with feelings of inferiority when he compares his life to his successful brother's. This novel is riveting and deals with the issues of mother daughter relationships, friendships, learning disabilities, infertility, struggles, etc. Culminating with a trial the novel goes beyond the headlines and provides us with a look at what happens to those who are affected by the actions of the principal characters. A very engrossing and realistic read with vivid characters.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Well, this book wasn't bad, but the characters played into their roles as I had foreseen. There was nothing that surprised me or particularly moved me within this plot. I was actually hoping for a glimpse into a relationship, that while taboo, would be unique and fascinating - hoping the author planned on showing me something to really chew on and ponder. No such luck. Instead the girl was very typical, know-it-all teen - right away 'loving' the teacher. The teacher/bad guy was the typical jerk / Well, this book wasn't bad, but the characters played into their roles as I had foreseen. There was nothing that surprised me or particularly moved me within this plot. I was actually hoping for a glimpse into a relationship, that while taboo, would be unique and fascinating - hoping the author planned on showing me something to really chew on and ponder. No such luck. Instead the girl was very typical, know-it-all teen - right away 'loving' the teacher. The teacher/bad guy was the typical jerk / asshole guy that is scum and cheated on his wife previously and the teen's mother was the typical 'hovering mother' who defined herself by her children's success or failure and the teacher's wife was the compulsive 'mother in waiting' completely obsessed with having a baby and nothing else really even mattered. Like I said the book is written clearly and the characters are all who they are supposed to be. I was just hoping for a surprise or a revelation that would make me think. I did not get that with this book. I don't mean to come off harsh, I'm trying to be honest about why this book left me flat.

  27. 5 out of 5

    JudithAnn

    For a long time, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t get into the story. It seemed another of those family relationship-stories that I’ve just read too many of. But after about 100 pages, I started to become interested in the characters and I wanted to know more about them and what would happen in the story. The whole sordid story, who enjoys that? A teacher and his pupil having a relationship, then, when it comes out, him denying it while she maintains they love each other. In the court room she s For a long time, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t get into the story. It seemed another of those family relationship-stories that I’ve just read too many of. But after about 100 pages, I started to become interested in the characters and I wanted to know more about them and what would happen in the story. The whole sordid story, who enjoys that? A teacher and his pupil having a relationship, then, when it comes out, him denying it while she maintains they love each other. In the court room she sits with him, and everyone thinks she’s been manipulated by this man, who is not a great deal older than her, but married, and her teacher. The story is told from the viewpoint of the girl, Morgan, her mother Dinah, and her lover’s wife Rain. I enjoyed seeing the story from the different perspectives, as these people all have prejudices about each other. It was easy to understand their approaches to the situation, although I didn’t identify with any of them. In the end, this was a good read, but it started off really slow for me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I read this after listening to a podcast on Book Club Girl, in which the author was interviewed. She came to write this book after reading a headline in her local paper (she lives in Grand Rapids, Mi) about a teacher who pled guilty to having sex with a 17 year old student who was 18 at the time of the court proceedings. Starting there, she writes a fictional account based in the town of Arbor Valley, Mi ( Ann Arbor? Huron Valley? Who knows!) The book is written from multiple points of view, the I read this after listening to a podcast on Book Club Girl, in which the author was interviewed. She came to write this book after reading a headline in her local paper (she lives in Grand Rapids, Mi) about a teacher who pled guilty to having sex with a 17 year old student who was 18 at the time of the court proceedings. Starting there, she writes a fictional account based in the town of Arbor Valley, Mi ( Ann Arbor? Huron Valley? Who knows!) The book is written from multiple points of view, the teenage girl, her mother, the teacher, his wife. I enjoyed the story and thought the characters were well developed. I had empathy for all of them, except the teacher who, not only does not take responsibility for his actions when caught, but tries to paint the picture of the girl as a crazed stalker. Admit I enjoyed the many geographic Mich references, ie lunch in Royal Oak, a meeting in Lansing, etc.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Evancic

    I found this book very slow in the beginning, but much more intriguing as I read on. Dinah, an over zealous and protective mother and Joe, as assistant principal at a high school, seem like a normal family. They have two boys, who are both experiencing physical or educational deficiencies (due to early births), and as they concentrate on them, their oldest girl, Morgan, whom they trust completely and never check up on, gets herself in a jam. Their world falls apart when their daughter has an aff I found this book very slow in the beginning, but much more intriguing as I read on. Dinah, an over zealous and protective mother and Joe, as assistant principal at a high school, seem like a normal family. They have two boys, who are both experiencing physical or educational deficiencies (due to early births), and as they concentrate on them, their oldest girl, Morgan, whom they trust completely and never check up on, gets herself in a jam. Their world falls apart when their daughter has an affair with TJ, a handsome teacher at the same school. TJ is already married to Rain. TJ is immature and incredibly into himself, being insensitive to both his wife and Morgan. Morgan, a typical 17 year old girl, thinks of herself as an adult, and believes true love will conquer all. She has no idea of the scandal this affair will create in the town and the repercussions that will come.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    This is an intriguing subject, and the author does a good job of presenting it in such a way that it seems as though the affair “just happened” - that it wasn’t planned, that no one was guilty of deception or manipulation, that no one was neglectful or uncaring. But as the story progresses, being told from three different characters, the reader sees the various characters’ flaws that led to the affair between a teenager and her married teacher. As their worlds crumble, no one seems to come out w This is an intriguing subject, and the author does a good job of presenting it in such a way that it seems as though the affair “just happened” - that it wasn’t planned, that no one was guilty of deception or manipulation, that no one was neglectful or uncaring. But as the story progresses, being told from three different characters, the reader sees the various characters’ flaws that led to the affair between a teenager and her married teacher. As their worlds crumble, no one seems to come out whole – not Morgan, not T. J., and not Rain. And yet, some find inner strength in an impossible situation to rally and survive. And all are forced to face a reality not none had envisioned. Someone must take the blame; someone must be held accountable. Or do they all share in the guilt? A fascinating tale, well-imagined and well-told.

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