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Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan

Title: The Good Neighbor
Author: Amy Sue Nathan
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
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?
After her divorce, Izzy Lane is trying to move on. Going back to living in her childhood home was not what Izzy was expecting, but it was the smarter decision. The rent is low and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman, is a great emotional support; she also helps her with her five-year-old son, Noah, as she helped her mom when Izzy was growing up.
Izzy is going out and dating, but is one disaster date after another. Her experiences are so funny she decides to write a blog where she writes her thoughts and shares her dating experience; but everything changes when her ex comes to pick up Noah in the company of his new girlfriend. Not to be left behind, Izzy invents a boyfriend (Mac) of her own and starts to blog about him and her perfect dates with him. From one moment to another her blog picks up and everybody is reading it, she has become an online expert in dating; she is even getting pay good money for writing a column giving dating advice. The only problem is her friends want to meet her boyfriend and her readers want to know more about the perfect Mac.
The only person that knows that Mac doesn’t exist is Mrs. Feldman. She doesn’t agree with what Izzy is doing, but she can’t do more than give her wise advice, is up to Izzy to do what is right, but the more time that passes the bigger the lie becomes and the harder it is for Izzy to come clean. The problem is some people are starting to suspect Mac doesn’t exist and her lie has become a snowball; the only question is how devastating the avalanche is going to be when the truth comes to the light.

Izzy had some likeable treats, but she was a frustrating character. Izzy is a good mom and a good person. She wants what is best for her son and does her best for him even when her heart is breaking into pieces. I can imagine how frustrating it can be to start dating again -at almost forty- after a divorce, but lying and creating an imaginary boyfriend is not something that a thirty-nine-year-old woman would do. That’s something that I might see a teenager doing it, but not a mature middle age woman. Also, she had many opportunities to be honest or to simply end the farce, but she preferred to let the lie grow and grow –even when it was affecting other people- and only came clean when she didn’t have any other option.

The character I liked the most was Mrs. Feldman. She was very wise and tried to steer Izzy on the right direction giving her great advice. I also loved her interactions with Noah, who was a very sweet boy.

The rest of the characters did their job in the story conveying the message each one of them was supposed to pass along, but were completely forgettable.

I understand what Amy Sue Nathan tried to do with The Good Neighbor, but I think Izzy’s lie wasn’t such a big deal to have the repercussions it had. Yes, it was bad because a grownup/mature woman shouldn’t create a stupid lie like a fake boyfriend, but the severity of the consequences were a bit too farfetched. Mrs. Feldman’s secret was the only secret interesting in the story and one that could have had serious repercussions, but we only learned about it far into the story and to make matters worse we don’t see how everything pans out for her at the end.

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan can we sum-up with this quote from the book: “Secrets and lies change lives. And rarely in a good way.” The Good Neighbor while an entertaining book, it was somewhat unremarkable.

My Verdict: 3 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads

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