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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

A Good Neighborhood

This book takes a painful look at how greed and racism can become weapons of massive self-destruction. A seemingly pleasant, integrated neighborhood begins to reveal its dark side when a black woman, Valerie, sues her white neighbor, Brad, for killing her beloved oak tree. Using his government contacts Brad had bragged that he had managed to build his mansion without following the laws that would have safeguarded Valerie's gorgeous old-growth tree. When Valerie sues him for damages, she lets her impulse for retribution and her greed overshadow her original intent, which was to save future trees from being similarly destroyed. Brad, who is on the brink of becoming a sexual predator, responds with a darkly manipulative and racist act of revenge which has catastrophic results for everyone involved. This book is a good reminder that though some of us might believe that racism is no longer a big problem in America, we still have a long way to go. I found the ending somewhat implausible and so excruciating, that I can't unreservedly recommend it. It was well-written and the narration was excellent, so read it if you are tough enough to take a rough ride! ⭐⭐⭐/5 on GoodReads, and added to our Goodreads group, Ripe Reads, a listing of books by and about mature adults. Paperback 384 pages, audiobook 10 hrs 35 minutes.


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