Elizabeth is a newly divorced, single mom trying to make her way through live with her six year old son, in the novel The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan. Not only does Iz have to deal with her son’s father being absent while he looks for a job…in California…but he leaves her with no help or child support for 6 weeks.
When a job opportunity arises for Iz, and she’s able to make extra money to pay for her son’s day care bills, she scoops it up as soon as possible. The job seems easy enough, she will be writing a column about dating over forty for her best friends blog, easy peasy. Although Iz has one little secret, she’s not really dating the guy that she keeps writing about on her blog. All the dates, holiday’s and cute quotes are all made up. He actually doesn’t exist at all, and only her next door neighbor knows the real deal. Once her secret becomes uncovered by an online reader, she’s afraid to tell her friends that she’s been lying to them the whole time. What started out as a way to make extra money, has turned into a huge lie she can’t unravel from herself.
I was expecting good things from this book. I had heart nothing but great reviews for The Good Neighbor. I was left wanting more. I think that in these times of Catfish and online blogs, etc. the author was trying to keep up with the idea that we all don’t really know who we are talking to, we keep our personal lives private online, and we may fabricate a little bit about ourselves, but this book let me down a lot. The subject of lying about yourself online was very interesting to me, but that’s about all that the book gave me to work with. The secrets were boring, the fact that Iz wouldn’t tell anyone the truth, and dragged it out forever was boring. Her secret wasn’t even that big of a deal. The only secret that was really good was her neighbor, Mrs. Fieldman’s, and you don’t even find that one out until the middle of the book. There could have been so much more juicy potential with in these pages, but I seriously just kept waiting for something crazy to happen, and it never did. I don’t think that inventing a boyfriend is really that big of a deal, especially if you are just writing about it online. She only wrote a couple of blogs, so it’s not like she fabricated an entire life. Then they “broke up”. It just seemed like a really middle school level secret, there could have been so much more to this. I have to admit though, that the writing was impeccable, it was just the context that was lacking.
2 out of 5, fail.