A Good Neighborhood
Im a firm believer in the Fictive Dream, its what I need most in a book. To be dropped into a character driven story and live it with the character. If done correctly time stands still. When I come out of the fictive dream it seems like twenty ...more
Please stop singing Mr. Rogers epic song: It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, would you be my, could you be my? Won't you be my neighbor? because this book is nothing about good neighboring. It is about tangled, complex situations and their eventual ...more
The third person we narrator, seemingly removed but yet all knowing about the neighborhood, the characters, gives the feeling that they are part ...more
A compelling and timely read!
This story involves two families whose lives will intertwine in ways they would never have imagined.
We begin our story here, in the minutes before the small event that will change everything.
The Whitman's have just built an upscale new house in the neighborhood of Oak Knoll.
Seventeen-year-old, Juniper Whitman seems to have it all. But appearances can be deceiving. Juniper's mother, Julia met ...more
A tragedy strikes a Good Neighborhood. This is where good families and good people live. But under the veneer of perfection, exists deep-seated racism, gender bias, class separation, and a sexual predator. Families are ripped apart based on choices made stemming from greed, desperation, doing the right thing, and love.
Fowler explores themes of racial and class divisions through the characters of ...more
Actions. Circumstances. Ramifications. My Oh My! What a tangled Web You Weave!
When you think of a suburban community, you think barbecues and book clubs. Thats exactly how life was in the quiet suburb of Oak Knoll. Life was positively idyllic, but of course, good neighbors sure are hard to find!
Valerie Alston-Holt loves raising her teenaged son Xavier in the quiet neighborhood of Oak Knoll and both consider themselves lucky, until the drilling and demolition starts ...more
My feelings are all over the place on this one. I think it is extremely well written, the use of the third person omnipotent point of view is always an interesting view. I think its hard to use it successfully which this book did. The premise, though not a new one, is good and relatable. A story of a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, in an older suburb where the residents are now having to make way for the Brad Whitmans of the world.
Valerie Alston-Holt is a widowed ...more
Reading this was a bit like reading two separate books, in which the first two thirds was Liane Moriarty at her slowest, and the final third was a constant stream of heart-pounding, horrible drama that made me so unbelievably angry (not, I should say, in a bad way).
This was the only book that sounded interesting for March Book of the Month, which is why I picked it. It takes on several delicate subjects - race, racism, class and womanhood - all in a middle/upper middle class North ...more
5 Phenomenal Affecting Stars!!!!
Emotions and thoughts spin around and around in my head!!!
They will for a LONG TIME!
Huge Kudos to the author!!! She is insanely talented!!!
Unbelievable how engaging - thought provoking - urgent - and - heartbreaking- this story is!!!
Full Review still to come!
NO SERIOUS SPOILERS...
Most of us hide what troubles and confuses us, displaying instead the facets we hope others will approve of, the parts we hope ...more
This one scares the living daylights out of me and there are some pretty scary things going on right now. Here is why the characters are so awful in this story and I fear if this could happen and this neighborhood could be for real, our humanity is at ...more
White Brad, and his family, move ...more
I loved Therese Anne Fowler's historical novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so ...more
A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD begins with "An upscale new house in a simple old neighborhood." Oak Knoll is a desirable area to live in North Carolina. A mixed race color-blind progressive area....or so we're told.
The storyline has an interesting narration with just a bit of commentary by the neighbors along the way that does not detract, but added to the telling....from my perspective.
It's a Sunday afternoon in May. The new self-made privileged millionaire, wife and two daughters...more
"Trees are life. Not just my life, but life, period."
As this story begins, set in a neighborhood populated by modest homes built when the boys who fought in World War II returned home to a housing boon in the rapidly growing suburban developments. A neighborhood in North Carolina, these many years later, by now established. That is, until a new family, the Whitmans, build a new, far more upscale, sprawling house next door to Valerie Alston-Holt. Valerie is a black female ...more
The story itself was a good one, somewhat predictable, not in scope, but I pretty much knew where it was going before its arrival. Until the end, that I ...more
We are told this on the very first page Later this summer when the funeral takes place, the media will speculate boldly on who's to blame."
I had heard a lot of bugaboo about this book and its provocative themes, so of course I had to check it out. My advice to those considering reading this is if you want to be uplifted at all, it's absolutely not happening with this book.
This is a story about an upwardly mobile family that moved into the exclusive Oak Knoll neighborhood in North Carolina. Brad Whitman was now part of the nouveau riche, having created a thriving business. He was easily recognizable because ...more
For the record, we never wanted to take sides.
So begins this cautionary tale, as told by our omniscient narrator(s), which I assumed was one or more of the other Oak Knoll neighbor(s).
The story finds Valerie Alston-Holt at odds with her new neighbors, Brad and Julia ...more
I received a gifted copy from the publisher. ...more
Valerie Alston-Holt is a professor of forestry and ecology so obviously nature is pretty darn important to her. She's been a single mother for years, raising her biracial teenage son and Xavier is quite the talented young man. The Whitmans have just moved to the ...more
Wow. Just wow.
This book certainly covers a multitude of subjects! Racism, stereotypes, white privilege, sexual abuse and even ecology.
A Good Neighborhood is not a fast paced read. When a well-to-do white family with two daughters (one is a 17 year old) moves in next door to a single, black mother raising her teenage biracial son, things start off well enough. That is, until the teenagers fall in love. What originally starts out as a disagreement over a tree between the two ...more
I want to start off by saying that I love a book that isn't afraid to tackle tough, hot button issues straight on, and this book attempts to do so, and for that attempt, I give Fowler props; however, the issues for me started right off the bat. It took way too long to get to the "heart" of the premise. I was at Chapter 19 (and they weren't small chapters) and NOTHING substantive had taken place yet! There was just ...more
Im reluctant to say much about the plot of A Good Neighborhood because knowing too much would ruin the effect. In very bare terms, its the story of two families who become new neighbours, and what that does to them and the neighbourhood. There is tension between the adults and a budding romance between their older teens. A complicating and crucial factor is that one family is African American and the other family is white.
There was lots I loved about A Good Neighborhood. ...more
I was excited to read this as I had seen nothing but raving reviews. I was ready for a powerful, emotional, unforgettable story. Perhaps that high expectation is what ruined this for me? Not sure. I just couldnt seem to get fully immersed in this storyline. From start to finish, I kept thinking what am I missing? Although the writing was good, the plot felt long and drawn out. The characters and ...more
by Jordan Moblo
As someone who happens to read a lot, the sign of a good book for me is whether I can recall the details of where I was when I read it. I distinctly remember sitting in my office devouring Miracle Creek cover to cover; the hotel room I holed myself up in while burning through Little Fires Everywhere; and the coffee shop where I was captivated by Ask Again, Yes. And in the case of A Good Neighborhood (which, by the way, is a must-read if you enjoyed any of the ...more
Complementary reading: White Fragility: Why Its So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
NOTE: I received this as an Advance Reader Copy from Goodreads in September 2019. ...more
But then it all went wrong - as if Fowler decided on her sensationalistic ending but forgot to lay the groundwork. The last quarter of the book felt slapped on purely for effect and didn't feel authentic or "earned." Very disappointing.