Jill Furedy's Reviews > In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time

In The Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim
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May 26, 2012

liked it

Somehow when I picked this up, I focused on the 'getting to know the neighbors' thing and not on the sleep over thing. I think that would weird me out if a neighbor I hardly knew wanted to spend the night. I don't really need to know that much of my neighbors routine. But I don't know mine well at all...friendly waves, occasional chat in the front yard, but I can't recall their names for anything. The neighborhood I grew up in, we all knew each other really well, though the cul de sac set up probably helped with that. However my parents still live there and no one is that close anymore, only a couple of people remain from when I was in high school almost 20 years ago, and the newer arrivals aren't so interested in block parties, barbecues, etc. So that is part of why this topic interested me.
I also didn't realize that the catalyst for the book was a neighbor's murder by her husband, and that the author would fixate on that with every new person he got to know. Did they think it would have changed things if they knew her better, how did the feel about the whole thing, etc? I wasn't so interested in that, as it doesn't pertain to most people's neighborhood's and don't think it should extrapolate to the 'I should get to know them to avoid this scenario' lesson. I am all for building community in theory, but I'm not an outgoing person in most circumstances and keep to myself at home. So I was looking to see more about building communities and preferred the parts of the book where he focused on that type of story and not just his own. But I did like Lou and the connection Peter made for him with Patti toward the end. But over all, none of the characters were particually memorable...just a regular neighborhood, everyone with their own quirks and challenges but nothing exceptional going on. It's listed as a sociology book, but I'm not sure someone looking for a sociological context would be terribly interested in a book that leans more toward the memior side. I'm not sure what demographic the audience would be. So I don't know that it would be one I'd find much cause to recommend to anyone
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