Monday, February 1, 2021

Book Review | Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan

Good Neighbors is a horror-adjacent thriller by Sarah Langan.

Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan

Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburbpitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block.

Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroedera lonely community college professor repressing her own dark pastwelcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

This book is bizarre in a Bentley Little sort of way. The town, the landscape, the people. Something is not right on Maple Street.

It took me a while to get into Good Neighbors. It was so far fetched, but a thread of curiosity kept making me pick it back up. Eventually I was hooked, and I was glad I didn't put it down for good.

Oddly enough I grew to care about the people of Maple Street.

Before each chapter there are news articles recalling the events that took place on Maple Street. I loved the perspective of the interviews and the journalists just as much as I enjoyed the actual story. It's easy to see how one's perspective can be skewed in a situation and how one's bias can shape what they want to believe about their neighbors.

If you enjoy domestic thrillers with neighbors pitted against neighbors, I do recommend you pick up Good Neighbors. It was quite the experience.

3.5/5 stars

Review copy provided by publisher


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1 comment:

  1. The blurb makes this sound so good, but not sure if this will work for me based on your review. I'd still like to try it, though😁


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