The Good Neighbor has some secrets

Posted October 13, 2015 by Elizabeth in book reviews/ 10 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review. Affiliate links within the post provide a small commission to support blog expenses and giveaways. This is in accordance with US FCC regulations.

The Good Neighbor has some secretsThe Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan
Genres: Contemporary Women
Published by St. Martin's Griffin Source: NetGalley
October 13th 2015 | Pages: 272
Purchase on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

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?

Izzy’s childhood friend Jade, a social media entrepreneur, wants her to transfer her personal blog to Pop Philly and will pay her a much needed salary, since her ex-husband lost his job and cannot handle child support. Unfortunately, much of Izzy’s stories of single-mom dating are fiction. She has a great voice, and a thoughtful outlook, being a high school counselor, but should she deceive the public and her friend into believing these stories are real? She only mentioned a boyfriend in the first place so people would stop trying to fix her up, and now everyone wants to meet the elusive “Mac”. Izzy is trapped in what I am calling the Big Mac Lie. Readers are asking for advice in the comments, and even people at her real job are talking about Philly Over Forty and the great advice and stories they read there. Jade has promised Izzy that she can remain anonymous, but is that really possible in the world of modern technology?

Bloggers were anonymous all the time. Maybe they all conjured posts from their imaginations. How was anyone to know? Was there a moral code attached to blogging? I knew there was a moral code to life.

Luckily, Izzy has one person with whom she can share her secret, The Good Neighbor, Mrs. Feldman, who has been a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen since Izzy was a girl. Mrs. Feldman keeps telling Izzy to tell the truth, but she has her own big secret she has kept since her girlhood seventy years earlier. Helping Mrs. Feldman continue to live independently in her home of fifty years is another responsibility Izzy is carrying.

What on earth makes them {my sons] think I want to be around old people all the time? I have my friends at the JCC. I have my friends from Hadassah and the Sisterhood. That’s enough old ladies for this old lady. I don’t need bingo down the hall.

vert_bed_electronicsI enjoyed Izzy juggling her roles of mother, counselor, blogger and friend while trying to keep her story straight. She was smart to stay as close to the truth as possible, with the exception of the Big Mac Lie. Not being honest when she was asked to write for the blog was a big mistake; I don’t see why she couldn’t have written it as fiction or bring in stories from friends and readers instead of sticking to the big lie, which she tried to pitch to Jade as a format. Her friend is a huge powerhouse and doesn’t want to listen when Izzy tries to give her the reality of the situation. She shuts her down and tells her that everything is going wonderfully and she needs Izzy to continue so she can get some much-needed capital for Pop Philly.

Of course everything comes to a head at a big event. Izzy is exposed, her friends are surprised and disappointed, but Mrs. Feldman is there to comfort and help her back on her feet, just as she was after Izzy’s divorce.

If you learn anything from this, it is that trying to hide who you are or even what you’ve done? Never a good idea. Secrets and lies don’t protect you, they strip you bare.

As a blogger, I found a lot of Izzy’s dilemmas to be relatable. What is good content? Is it OK to embellish? Do statistics matter? How much personal information should I reveal? These are things that even little ole book bloggers wonder. She also was very relatable in her relationship with Mrs. Feldman, a surrogate mother, whom she loves dearly, but has no true influence over, not being one of her children. I found the premise of being steamrolled into the blogging situation a little unrealistic, but without it there would be no story.

The Good Neighbor is a quick fun read that will appeal to many people, whether they understand the blog talk or not. I definitely recommend it to my bloggy friends.

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10 responses to “The Good Neighbor has some secrets

  1. Very comprehensive review Elizabeth. I really enjoyed this one too. Loved Mrs Feldman. To be honest I couldn’t get my head around the biggy of the lie. Didn’t seem that big to me, it’s made me question my morals!!!

  2. How cool that there are books now about blogging. This one sounds like a perfect read for our book blogging community (as long as we don’t lie about how many books we’ve been reading!).

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