Affecting, Enthralling, Tragic, Traumatic.
In a quiet picturesque community on Long Island, new residents from Brooklyn move in. As soon as they arrive, it’s immediately clear to the current residents of ‘Maple Street’ that the Wilde’s simply don’t fit in. Gertie is a former Pageant Queen and her husband Arlo, is a has-been Rock Star and a former junkie. Sadly, their kids, Julia and Larry aren’t exactly ‘Maple Street’ material either.
The neighborhood is ruled by Rhea Schroeder, a master manipulator, who is adored by everyone and just happens to be the Wilde’s next-door neighbor. At first, Rhea appears to be their friend, little does Gertie know, however, that Rhea is not who she seems. Shortly thereafter, she turns on her new friends. Unfortunately for the Wildes, Rhea is a very persuasive woman and she convinces everyone in the neighborhood to turn against them as well.
While this is happening, an unfortunate incident occurs in the community. A sinkhole opens up and it swallows one of its residents. Once that happens, things go from bad to worse.
Thereafter the Wildes are brutalized and victimized by everyone in the neighborhood all because of Rhea Schroeder, one woman who wields all of the power.
A tale that takes place in the future and for which a reporter interviews the residents of Maple Street after the fact. Upon being interviewed, the residents questioned what was true and what was not.
Trying to sum up how I felt after reading “Good Neighbors” by Sarah Langan is virtually impossible. Frankly, at first, I was stunned and I had no words. I read this with my book buddy Kaceey and we found it to be wholly original. Wild and crazy, it had some quite interesting, and funny passages. Then this novel started to take a darker turn, which was unexpected, and then it became something else entirely. Something wholly astounding, devastating, and heartbreaking. To say that it broke me doesn’t quite cover it.
Even though this book wrecked me, I must say that this is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. In my opinion, this entire novel represents a much bigger picture. An allegory if you will. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t read it but what I will say is that it took me an entire day to come to that conclusion and when it struck me, I was dumbfounded.
If this book is not on your TBR, it should be. It is an incredible story and it is a MUST READ.
Sarah Langan, I applaud you for this brilliant novel and cannot wait to see what you come up with next. This is my first 5-star read of 2021 and it is also the first book that will appear on my Goodreads best-of list for 2021 as well.
As I mentioned, this was a buddy read with Kaceey – I’m so glad we shared this read together, I’m not sure I could have read this one alone.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books and Sarah Langan for the arc.
Published on Goodreads and Twitter on 1.17.21.
Excerpt posted on Insta.
All the stars🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟
I’m speechless. What did I just read?!
You know how occasionally you pick up a book firmly believing you know exactly what you’re in for? That’s precisely what yours truly did.
Okay sure, another book about feuding neighbors. Yes, we did have that…but paired superbly with so much more, providing shocking, revolting views of mankind in uncertain times.
The author takes us on a frightful journey into our world, exposing us to a side of humanity at its worst.
While this is fiction, so much of it rang true given the world in its current crisis, and the shameful things we’re doing to each other along the way.
So…to be clear:
This isn’t JUST about one long hot summer in Long Island.
This isn’t JUST about a sinkhole that opens up in the park down the street.
This isn’t JUST about a new family not fitting into the new neighborhood.
This IS about human nature and how ugly that can be at times.
The behaviors were horrifying. I was aghast! How could this happen in real life. Yet all we have to do today is turn on the news and witness first-hand that this is indeed happening in our very own world gone sideways.
Not every reader is going to come away with similar views and opinions.
This is going to be one of those books you either love or hate. And folks guess what? It’s okay to disagree!!
Personally I HATED the depraved behavior of the characters, but LOVED the book and the message it conveyed.
A buddy read with Susanne that lent itself to some incredible discussions.
Thank you to Atria Books via NetGalley for an Arc to read and review.