Tag Archives: General Fiction

Review: Good Neighbors

Good Neighbors
Good Neighbors
By Sarah Langan
Washington Square Press, 9781982144371, October 2021, 320pp.

The Short of It:

No good neighbors here. This is an example of how an entire neighborhood can fall prey to rumors, lies, and accusations if the right person makes it her mission to to see a neighborhood into ruin.

The Rest of It:

You might have a Maple Street in your neighborhood. That perfect cul de sac neighborhood, that borders a park, is home to many families and children, and yes, drama, lots of it.

One very hot summer, the maws of Maple Street literally open as a result of global warming and climate change. Their once idyllic neighborhood is now home to a very large sink hole. One that oozes noxious fumes and sludge that covers every surface, shoes, walls, car tires, carpets. You name it. The neighborhood kids, affectionately called The Rat Pack (sarcasm) congregate as best they can while the sink hole seems to have its own life. But when something happens to one of their own and the accusations start flying, the inhabitants of Maple Street begin to take sides and just short of a lynching, one family finds themselves as the target.

I found it interesting that the street in question is Maple Street. Do you remember that Twilight Zone episode where all the neighbors turn on each other? It was called The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and that same title applies here. Seemingly sane people become anything but that. Common sense goes out the window and the family at the top of their list struggles just to live in this hostile neighborhood.

At first, my book club didn’t think there would be much to discuss but we took the entire time discussing the book and how, although a bit ridiculous when it came to the sink hole, we all agreed that a neighborhood could easily turn if the right person was stoking the fire. Think of your neighborhood groups like Next Door. I cannot belong to these groups. Their constant chatter about a kid on the corner, or a car driving by more than once, gives me anxiety. But it just takes one person to stir up hysteria in a neighborhood.

This was not an enjoyable read. There is a lot of nastiness going on but it was suspenseful even though much of the plot points are given away at the top of each chapter via news articles. I had absolutely no problem flying through this one. I had to know how it all ended given how grim the story was.

Have you read it? It was a good book to discuss.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers
Nine Perfect Strangers
By Liane Moriarty
Flatiron Books, 9781250069832, October 2019, 464pp.

The Short of It:

Kept me engaged. Didn’t mind the entertainment value one bit.

The Rest of It:

Tranquillum House is the end all, be all destination retreat for those needing a fresh start. Boasting beautiful outdoor spaces, custom meal plans, massages, meditation, and relaxation, its high price doesn’t deter those in need of transformation and that is what Tranquillum House and Masha, its extravagant guide promises.

Frances is on the verge of being a washed-up romance writer. Her back hurts, she could lose a few pounds. She needs a jumpstart on life. Others are there to save their marriage, their family, or recover from grief and loss. All of them strangers, there by choice yet they didn’t quite understand what they signed up for because once they arrive, they are told not to speak, not to even look at one another. There is forced meditation, fasts, and some more extreme measures taken to truly transform them.

In the beginning, ten days doesn’t seem like a lot. They can deal with anything for ten days but then Masha and her small staff push the boundaries of what’s appropriate.

Of all the Moriarty books, this one has probably gotten the most lukewarm reviews but I enjoyed it. There was just enough quirk in these characters to keep me interested and there is a bit of a mystery as to how it will all end for these nine guests. At nearly 500 pages it held my interest the entire time. I read it with one of my previous students and we both blew through it.

Recommend.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.