Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Review: A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

Title: A Good Neighborhood
Author: Therese Anne Fowler
Published: March 2020, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 311 pages
Source: Publisher

In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door - an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

My thoughts: I am so glad I read this book with a book club...even if that book club is online. This book is the type of book where you need to have someone to discuss it with after you read it or even while you are reading it and is exactly what my book club did - we talked halfway through the book and again at the end.

I loved this book. It's the type of book that will keep you thinking while you are reading as well as long after you have turned the last page. And I love books like that...I love books that not only get you invested in what is going on with the characters but also with the themes that are woven into the story. There is just so much food for thought that it is definitely a book I know I won't be forgetting anytime soon.

This book will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. It is both heartbreaking and powerful. The decisions that the characters make will anger you and shock you. You will be cheering on these characters at times and then you will be screaming at them. This is the type of book that you will be overly invested in and just waiting for what tragedy awaits them - a tragedy that we are warned about from the very first page. 

This book isn't easy to read...it's hard and will make you uncomfortable at times, but it is such an important and timely story. Aren't books that speak to the truth ones that make us uneasy? 

This is the second book I've read by this author, and while this one is very different than the previous one I read, she is definitely on my must-read list now. I think everyone should read this...it is so timely and such a compelling read. 


1 comment

  1. Great review! I loved this book as well. So many good discussion points.


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