Authors Best

Ranking Author Alice McDermott’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

“What are Alice McDermott’s Best Books?” We looked at all of McDermott’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Alice McDermott and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

The Top Book’s Of Alice McDermott

7 ) A Bigamist’s Daughter

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 6

Elizabeth Connelly, a cynical young woman living and working in New York, embarks on a psychologically threatening investigation into her father’s pas a search that produces unforeseen revelations concerning her own personality and future.

7 ) At Weddings and Wakes

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 7

Scenes of a family unfold through childrens’ eyes in Alice McDermott’s extraordinary novel. Here, among family rituals and relationships, love and longing, recriminations and regret, an Irish-Catholic family comes vividly, brilliantly to life. Twice a week, Lucy Dailey leaves suburbia with her three children in tow, returning to the Brooklyn home where she grew up, and where her stepmother and unmarried sisters still live. Lucy longs for the ineffable as her sisters grapple with alcohol and absolution and her mother wrestles with the past. Aunt Veronica, with her wounded face and dreams of beauty, drowns her sorrows in drink. Aunt Agnes, an acerbic student of elegance, sips only from the finest crystal as she sees Aunt May, the ex-nun who has vowed to find happiness, blossom with a late and unexpected love…. And the children watch, absorbing the legacy of their haunted family: “…like the dead, their presence would be all the more inescapable when they were gone.”

6 ) After This

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 5

Alice McDermott’s powerful novel is a vivid portrait of an American family in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Witty, compassionate, and wry, it captures the social, political, and spiritual upheavals of those decades through the experiences of a middle-class couple, their four children, and the changing worlds in which they live.  While Michael and Annie Keane taste the alternately intoxicating and bitter first fruits of the sexual revolution, their older, more tentative brother, Jacob, lags behind, until he finds himself on the way to Vietnam. Meanwhile, Clare, the youngest child of their aging parents, seeks to maintain an almost saintly innocence. After This, alive with the passions and tragedies of a determining era in our history, portrays the clash of traditional, faith-bound life and modern freedom, while also capturing, with McDermott’s inimitable understanding and grace, the joy, sorrow, anger, and love that underpin, and undermine, what it is to be a family.

5 ) Charming Billy

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 7

The late Billy Lynch’s family and friends gather at a bar in the Bronx to remember better times. They admire the way his widow, Maeve, is holding up but one cannot think of Billy without saying “There was that girl.” Soon the twisted grief of Maeve, Billy and his cousin Dennis becomes apparent.

4 ) That Night

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 6
  • LibraryThing: 3

The scene of Alice McDermott’s brilliantly observed and poignant second novel is suburban Long Island in the sixties. Rick and Sheryl are high school sweethearts abruptly separated by Sheryl’s mother when she discovers her daughter is pregnant. Their story is narrated by a neighbour of Sheryl’s who, as a child, watched the progress of Rick and Sheryl’s romance with admiring fascination. As she describes her indelible memories of that night, when Rick came to rescue Sheryl from the prison of her house, she creates a wry, bittersweet elegy for young love, that most intense and unalloyed of human relationships.

3 ) Child of My Heart

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 4

In Alice McDermott’s first work of fiction since her best-selling, National Book Award-winning Charming Billy, a woman recalls her fifteenth summer with the wry and bittersweet wisdom of hindsight. The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island, Theresa is her town’s most sought-after babysitter–cheerful, poised, an effortless storyteller, a wonder with children and animals. Among her charges this fateful summer is Daisy, her younger cousin, who has come to spend a few quiet weeks in this bucolic place. While Theresa copes with the challenge presented by the neighborhood’s waiflike children, the tumultuous households of her employers, the attentions of an aging painter, and Daisy’s fragility of body and spirit, her precocious, tongue-in-check sense of order is tested as she makes the perilous crossing into adulthood. In her deeply etched rendering of all that happened that seemingly idyllic season, McDermott once again peers into the depths of everyday life with inimitable insight and grace.

2 ) The Ninth Hour

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 2

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove – to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife – “that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. The characters we meet – from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the audiobook who becomes the center of the story, to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love, to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined – are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence.

1 ) Someone

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 1

A fully realized portrait of one woman’s life in all its complexity, by the National Book Award-winning author. An ordinary life – its sharp pains and unexpected joys, its bursts of clarity and moments of confusion – lived by an ordinary woman: this is the subject of Someone, Alice McDermott’s extraordinary return, seven years after the publication of After This. Scattered recollections – of childhood, adolescence, motherhood, old age – come together in this transformative narrative, stitched into a vibrant whole by McDermott’s deft, lyrical voice. Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel.

Alice McDermott’s Best Books

Alice McDermott Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Someone 1 2 1 1
The Ninth Hour 2 1 2 2
Child of My Heart 4 3 4 3
That Night 3 6 3 4
Charming Billy 5 4 7 5
After This 6 5 5 6
A Bigamist’s Daughter 7 8 6 7
At Weddings and Wakes 8 6 7 7
A.M. Anderson

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A.M. Anderson

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