The Good Neighbour by A J Banner
' A woman is like a tea bag, you never know what she's made of until you put her in hot water'
Honestly, when I read that I really wanted to laugh out loud. Come on, its so cheesy - who ever said that, we must put him or her in hot water! And to think a well known author would actually use this painfully awkward line in her book? What was she thinking??
Ok, I selected this book The Good Neighbour by A J Banner because the synopsis sounded really interesting. It is basically about Sarah Phoenix, a writer settles into life with her new doctor husband Johnny McDonald in Shadow Cove, Washington. One evening, when Johnny is away , a fire breaks out at her neighbour's place, destroying Sarah's happiness. She soon discovers an undercurrent of deception. She is forced to doubt everything around her - her neighbours, her friends and even her own loving husband. She is forced to ask - Can we really know the ones we love?
I did not enjoy reading this book, at all. It is supposed to be a riveting psychological thriller with unexpected twiets and turns. I fell for it!! Instead , I felt like I was reading my 14 year old daughter's essay! It didn't enrapture me like my earlier novels. It wasn't a delicious read. It was written just too simply and the story was unbelievable. The characters in this book never developed beyond boring cliches and stereotypes. Ms Banner relied a lot on decribing clothing, jewelry and scents rather than details which would actually reveal the characters' personality...I finished it quickly for 2 reasons - to start on my next book as I was so bored of this one and secondly to keep to my resolution to write one book review every week.
One other thing that kept nagging me throughout. I believe A J Banner is a psuedonym for Anjali Bannerji ( I saw this on the first few pages Text Copyright@ Anjali Bannerji and A J Banner was born in India). I think Ms Bannerji had wanted her name to sound more western to appeal to a wider audience. I believe she didn't want readers to write her off as another Indian writer. This is all my conjecture but could it be that she may not be proud of her Indian roots? Quite sad if it is so. You must always to be truthful to yourself. I shared my assumption with my girls. Riya, my 12 year old who then questioned me, 'Well, would you have bought the novel if she had used her real name?' I replied "Of course!' For me, a good book is a good book. Regardless of who wrote it. I do hope I am wrong in my overthinking.
Anyway, the 194 pages of this novel are easily readable in a few days. If you an avid reader, you will be bored out of your wits and you would definitely struggle to finish it. I should have read the review first. Available in amazon.com for US$9.
Leave a Reply.