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The Whole Golden World Paperback – 5 Nov 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 419 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062206451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062206459
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 573,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Kristina Riggle, the acclaimed author of Real Life & Liars, returns with a thought-provoking novel inspired by real-life eventsSeventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti shocks her parents and her community with one simple act: She chooses to stand by t

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Abby S on 23 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Firstly let me just say, that this book is physically wonderful. The cover is so lovely, and the deckled edge pages make it even better. Although obviously you're not meant to judge a book by its cover.

The story is told through 3 different perspectives by characters that are incredibly well developed throughout the story. They aren't characters that you instantly love and are sometimes hard to like and understand. But the thing is they act the way any normal person would and the actions they take are easy to understand and justify.

Even the "villian" of the story was somebody that I could sympathise with to an extent, although what he did as a whole was clearly morally wrong.

All in all it was a wonderfully written book, that contained well written, well developed characters and had an incredibly satisfying ending.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 75 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Laurel-Rain Snow - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the opening chapter of The Whole Golden World: A Novel, we see life crashing down around several of the characters, as a trial begins.

We are then privy to a rewind, like a slow reveal, as we watch how the events unfold, giving us an insider's peek into the thoughts and feelings of the three primary female characters, whose stories are told from their perspectives in alternating chapters. Morgan is a seventeen-year-old girl that engages in an affair with her married teacher; Dinah, her stressed-out mother, juggles too many plates and lashes out regularly, while not seeing what is right in front of her; and Rain is the appeasing, peace-loving yoga teacher and wife to T. J., the man arrested for his affair with Morgan.

But there is much more to each of them. Morgan is smart, a good student, and seemingly much more adult than her years would suggest: she has taken on many responsibilities at home with her twin brothers, born prematurely and with some deficits that make their lives challenging, and up until this year in her life, has done nothing to disappoint the adults in her world.

And Dinah, who lashes out sometimes, is also an optimist; she believes the best about each of her children, and would lay down her life for any one of them.

Rain's strength lies in her persistence, which has kept her in the marriage despite its issues. But perhaps the circumstances that now surround them all can be a pivotal moment for her.

Will the outrage of the community and its blowback on all of them change their lives in meaningful ways, or will they all be victims in the end?

I could not put this book down. Despite the often familiar headlines that bring out one sex scandal or another, and even as this very kind of issue comes up more and more, we all know there is much more to the story. Delving beneath the surface and behind closed doors, the author shows us how each of the characters struggled on a daily basis with the challenges in their lives, and how their human flaws led them to their wrong choices. The ending left this reader with much to ponder, as, in its final paragraphs, more insight is offered. Five stars.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 5 Sept. 2013
By Amy Leemon - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
TJ Hill is accused of having an improper relationship with a 17 year old female student. Morgan Monetti is that student and she loves him and believes they can still have a life together.

Her mother Dinah sees disaster no matter what the verdict is. Her family is being torn apart and she doesn't know how to stop it.

Rain is TJ's wife and she supports him and is still hopeful they will come through this stronger than ever. She can not imagine a future without him.

And TJ? He is drawn to Dinah because she makes him feel like a hero. Because of that, he allows the relationship to spin out of control.

You won't like all of the characters but they will draw you in. Until finally one of them makes a mistake that changes everything.

This is a book well worth the time - its characters are well thought out and the storyline definitely keeps you involved to the very last page.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not An Affair To Remember! 11 Nov. 2013
By PattyLouise - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Whole Golden World
Kristina Riggle


This book is about a teacher who has a sexual relationship with his student.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Random thoughts first...

...loved it
...could not put it down
...amazed at this teacher's behavior
...shocked that this student could get away with all that she got away with

Now more structured thoughts...

TJ Hill...teacher, husband, soon to be father...has issues. Rain, his wife, puts his needs first. Whatever TJ wants...Rain makes happen. Rain wants a baby but infertility is her enemy. She will do anything to have one. She believes TJ wants this, too. Now let's chat about TJ Hill...he is jealous of his brother, insecure, and not very nice to Rain. Something happens...a random touch...a fleeting glance and he and Morgan...a student in his math class...become lovers. It's a secretive, hidden and furtive relationship but Morgan is blinded by him and believes he will leave Rain for her. Morgan...mature...older than her years...will do anything for TJ until the night they are caught " kissing" in his car. TJ is arrested and Morgan's life crashes down around her. She is labeled a "bad girl" and refuses to believe that TJ is denying their love.

There is a trial...I won't tell you the outcome...but it's great...really great reading!

Final thoughts...

This was the first book I have read by this author and I loved it. I will definitely read more of her books.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An important story about choice. Highly highly recommend it. 2 Jan. 2014
By QueenKatieMae - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Whole Golden World is like watching a devastating car wreck in slow motion. You know there will be damage, whether structural or human, but you can't look away. As I was reading, I realized I was watching a bunch of unhappy people self-implode; deceit and anger and heartbreak and manipulation to such an extreme I almost put down my book. But, as I said, I could not look away. And, I am very glad I did not because The Whole Golden World turned out to be a most thought provoking, well written, and compelling book.

It is senior year for 17 year-old Morgan, honors student and talented cello soloist, and it should be the best year of her life. There is prom, good friends, and finally, graduation. She cannot wait to graduate and leave for college. Since the preemie birth of her twin younger brothers, her role has consisted mostly of co-parenting and protecting her mildly disabled brothers. Their mother Dinah, business owner and supermom, is also a helicopter mom when it comes to parenting and has trouble allowing her children room to grow, or make mistakes. Their father, Joe, while vice-principal at their school, his role at home appears to consist of sullen silences or angry, accusatory fights with Dinah.

Morgan's calculus teacher, TJ Hill, with his carefree, easy-going personality is a well-loved student favorite. His wife, Rain, desperately wants children but they are unable to, and this places a strain on their loving relationship. This becomes more so when TJ's envy of his "perfect" brother with his "perfect" wife and their higher income intensifies after they announce that are going to have a baby. Rain, always supportive and pacifying, suggests they try in-vitro fertilization, a solution TJ firmly opposes.

After a fight with her best friend, Morgan feels lost, her ego bruised. She begins to talk to the always-accommodating TJ after school. He listens as she bares her soul, then he, almost implausibly, tells Morgan about his troubles at home and with his wife. This opens the door to the unthinkable: TJ and Morgan begin an illicit, illegal, and immoral affair. As a teacher, and an adult, TJ should know better to distance himself from this dangerous situation. Morgan, always the perfect daughter and student, is exhilarated by the attention from her handsome teacher and feels she is more beautiful, more mature with this relationship. At times, she even appears to be more in control of their affair with TJ willingly following.

Their world explodes when the two are caught and there is the expected fallout from family, friends, co-workers and community. TJ blames Morgan for seducing him. Joe accuses Dinah for not being more attentive of their daughter's conduct. Rain is humiliated by her husband's actions. The twins get in fights at school to protect their sister. The question on everyone's lips is "How did this happen?"

Taking on such a provocative subject as teacher-student affairs is a touchy subject and a writer with less introspection could turn it into a toxic soap opera. Or, as this author did, the story can become a powerful, well thought-out, and meaningful story about flawed individuals. And it all comes down to what Morgan, Dinah and Rain decide to do. With their world crumbling around them, the characters can either perish in the debris, or they can make choices that will ultimately, despite all else, empower them. While this could never have a storybook ending, The Whole Golden World leaves the reader satisfied and stays with you for days.

It's a brilliant book and I highly recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Had my attention from beginning to end. 23 Feb. 2014
By Carolyn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In many ways this is a difficult book to read. Remembering my own teenage years as well as those of my children, made me realize how easily something like this could happen. Riggle has an excellent conception of how people of varying ages and occupations think and feel, and she relates that perfectly. She tackles a number of difficult issues that face couples, families and friends, and the reader becomes quickly involved.
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