Review: The Good Neighbor

December 9, 2015 Amy Sue Nathan, book review, books, family, fiction, St.Martins Press 3

The Good Neighbor

  • Written by: Amy Sue Nathan
  • Published by:  St. Martin’s Griffin, October 13, 2015
  • Length:  272 pages
  • Source:  Author in consideration of an honest review

Summary:  When small lies have big consequences…

Things are a little rough for Izzy Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends—and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman—Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.

Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? Then, her blog soars in popularity and she’s given the opportunity to moonlight as an online dating expert. How can she turn it down? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in-real-life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are. That’s when Mrs. Feldman steps in, determined to show her neighbor the havoc that lies can wreak. If Izzy’s honest, she could lose everything, and everyone. Is the truth worth any cost? (publisher)

My Thoughts:  From page one it’s hard not to be on Izzy’s side.  She’s drawn a tough hand, her husband is a loser, she’s had to move back to her childhood home, buying it from her parents so they could retire in some nicer place near the shore.  Blogging about the now single life seems like a fun thing to do, but then her imagination and a bit of inventing cause her more problems.

The deeper story is the one behind the title, Mrs. Feldman, the good neighbor.  She was there when Izzy was a girl, her door right next to her parents, and always a welcome warm place for Izzy to land.  We should all have a Mrs. Feldman in our lives, someone who has lived long and well, though not perfectly, as if anyone can.  She is the voice of reason when Izzy seems to be wallowing in trouble with her best friend and now sort of boss.  She’s hired Izzy to bring her blog to a hot website, and Philly over 40 is born.  Izzy is lying to her cousin and other closest friend and only her neighbor and brother seem to be able to help her out of this mess.

Naturally there are other secrets in this book, and Amy Sue Nathan weaves this story so well.  I loved her first book, The Glass Wives, and this book doesn’t disappoint.  The characters are flawed and suffering, and yet humorous and so very real.  Izzy could be any number of my own friends who has had to start over again with one or more children and a job that just pays the bills and an ex who doesn’t always do his share.  We’ve all known an Izzy.  I also feel like more than a few time I may have embellished a man I was dating, to make him sound better, perhaps because I was jealous of a friend or co-worker.

Amy Sue Nathan writes about the emotions and errors of people I can relate to.  This book had me laughing and almost crying a few times too.  The nostalgia of going back to one’s childhood home, which is never the same sadly.  The older neighbor who is now about to shift her life as she isn’t as mobile as she once was.  I’ve witnessed this one with my own family.  Ah but wisdom and compassion seem to live in people like Mrs. Feldman, listening and learning from her is the key.

I highly recommend this book, thank you again Amy for reaching out to me with this book.  I love your style!!

3 Responses to “Review: The Good Neighbor”

  1. SDCB Steph

    Oh, this sounds exactly like the sort of thing I enjoy. The secrets! I love secrets in women’s literature.Thank you for the lovely review.

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