A Good Neighborhood
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Va ...more
I’m a firm believer in the Fictive Dream, it’s 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 twent ...more
Please stop singing Mr. Roger’s 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 eventu ...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 Ca ...more
The third person “we” narrator, seemingly removed but yet all knowing about the neighborhood, the characters, gives the feeling that they are p ...more
Unpopular opinion ahead and over-sensitive thinker at work here. I am an outlier in this one I am sure.
Updated opinion from my original review that got a lot of comments about how realistic this one is.
The author is white writing the POV of two black characters and she tells us exactly how to feel about all the characters. The black characters lack depth to them with one character with the harmful trope of angry black woman whose conflict with a neighbour is over a tree. More time was ...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
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. That’s 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 start ...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 character ...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 it’s 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 wido ...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 oth ...more
Full of spoilers, so don't read further unless you're looking for a justification as to why you shouldn't get this book.
Where on earth do I begin?
In a nutshell, this book is trauma porn of the black experience, managing to hit upon SEVERAL things black (and/or biracial (namely, half black)) people may deal with in their lifetimes, all over a swift 300+ pages. Fowler, who couldn't resist pointing out any time a character, even those of little importance, ...more
I don’t belong to a book club, but I wish I did after reading this book. It made me sad, it made me angry, it made me think about our world today, and it made me wonder whether or not certain characters’ actions were justified.
In the comfortable North Carolina suburb of Oak Hill, Valerie and her biracial son Xavier have lived since he was a ba ...more
White Brad, and his family, move in ...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 d ...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 ha...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 femal ...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 Whi ...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 couldn’t 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 a ...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 w ...more
I received a gifted copy from the publisher.
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 neig ...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 Oa ...more
A massive new house is built behind the Alston-Holt’s, damaging their beloved oak tree. Brad Whitman runs a successful HVAC company and moves in to the new house with his wife, Julia, and two daughters, Juniper and Lily. Tension builds betwe ...more
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