The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Recently divorced, Izzy finds herself right back where she started -- literally, she's living in the house she grew up in (her parents have moved on to retirement), struggling to take care of her young son Noah, and dealing with the fact that her ex, Bruce, is dating again. A school counselor by day, Izzy finds solace in blogging about her woes and dating life online at night. But when she starts writing about an imaginary boyfriend, "Mac," to make herself feel better about Bruce's new girlfriend, things go south quickly, especially when Izzy's blog takes off after her friend hires her to write for her up and coming "Philly Over 40" site. The only person Izzy can confide in is her next door neighbor, Mrs. Feldman, but her sweet 80-something neighbor may have a few secrets of her own.
I must confess, I almost gave up on this book in the beginning. It just seemed to start slowly for me. There is a lot of hand wringing from Izzy about her life and her blog. Eventually things take off and the plot gets more exciting. My biggest issue is that, in many ways, Izzy's fabrication of "Mac" doesn't really seem to be the huge deal that she makes it out to be. Sure, she shouldn't be lying to everyone, but really, her lie is going to supposedly bring down her friends' business, destroy all her friendships, and ruin Izzy's life? It is just a blog after all. Some of that just seems to be a stretch. Compare to the heartwarming and heartbreaking storyline with Mrs. Feldman -- it truly can't compare.
However, because I'm a total sucker, I kept imagining this movie as a romantic comedy or sitcom. I was sort of tense reading this novel, because you knew eventually the lie would be revealed, everything would get crazy, and all would be for naught... but you hoped like any "good" romantic comedy or sitcom, it would still tie up pretty neatly with a bow at the end, right? (And I won't lie, I sort of like that sometimes. There's enough uncertainty in real life.)
(Note: I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.)
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