Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: The Good Neighbor

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? 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. -- St. Martin's Griffin

I love the cover of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by Amy Sue Nathan! For some reason, this door, with its pretty color of green, just drew me in. There are a lot of books in my basement, and this book practically begged me to pick it up. Plus, I was in the mood for a heartwarming story.

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR tells the story of Izzy, a recently divorced mom who has recently moved back to her childhood home with her five-year-old son. She begins a blog about her life as a single mom and her dating life... which is pretty much non-existent, but the creative outlet provides some much needed entertainment for Izzy. When her ex-husband finds a new girlfriend, Izzy creates a "perfect" boyfriend named Mac. What seems like harmless fun for Izzy turns into something much more serious when her friends want to meet this ideal man and when Izzy stumbles upon a guy that might be potential dating material.

I was expecting THE GOOD NEIGHBOR to be a cute read, a sweet story about a divorced mom finding her way again... and it definitely was. Izzy was a lovable mom who, despite posting stories about her imaginary boyfriend, truly wanted the best for her child and was just trying to recover from the divorce. I was definitely rooting for her, although I'll admit I thought she should have handled a few things differently. Having said that, she found herself up to her neck in her blogging make-believe world with seemingly no way to get out without hurting others.

While I did enjoy Izzy's predicament, the heart of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR was in the relationship Izzy had with her "good neighbor" Mrs. Feldman. Izzy grew up visiting Mrs. Feldman and she found that she needed her even more than ever when she returned to her childhood home. Of course, the aging Mrs. Feldman needed Izzy too making Izzy a "good neighbor" too! I loved how Izzy still made the time to regularly visit Mrs. Feldman despite the demands on her as both a mom and an employee, and the scenes between the two were definitely my favorite part of this book.

One of the main themes of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR was secrets. I've already mentioned that Izzy was keeping secrets from her friends; however, it comes out that Mrs. Feldman had a pretty big secret of her own. I don't want to give too much away, but I really appreciated how the author revealed the complexities of Mrs. Feldman's character; and I found myself wanting both Izzy and Mrs. Feldman to have some sort of resolution... and to be able to forgive themselves.

Because THE GOOD NEIGHBOR has such interesting characters, it would make a great book club selection. There is a reading guide available with ten discussion questions. Some of the themes you might want to discuss further include divorce, second chances, aging, parent/child relationships, friendship, secrets, forgiveness, and redemption.

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR is a sweet read about an unlikely friendship and the affects secrets can have on our lives. Recommended to fans of mom-lit and women's fiction.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

Ooh, I have a feeling Mrs. Feldman's secret is juicy. This sounds like a great book!

Kate Unger said...

I'm intrigued. Great review. I'll check it out...maybe for my book club. :)