Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Neighbors Are Watching By Deborah Ginsberg - Book Review

The story begins when Joe Montana and his wife pull up in their car to their house in San Diego, seeing a Diana Jones, an African American teenager who is 17 years old and pregnant. Once Joe learns that Diana is his biological daughter, the story sets off a domino effect as everyone in the neighborhood feels the effects of the meeting. 

Ginsberg’s story is character driven without a plot as the point of view switches between several neighbors as they watch Diana and talk with her and about her. The neighbors seem to have their own problems as well as all of them become involved with her. 

The story is hard to follow because the point of view is switching between several characters in the novel. On one hand, you could say that the characters are powerful and memorable because of their actions in the story. On the other hand, the point of view switches along with the timeline, as we’re brought closer to Diana having her baby later on in the story. 

The years pass in the story and there are times that it seems frustrating to read this novel because it doesn’t follow any kind of sequence. In one scene for example, the police are about to question someone regarding Diana’s disappearance but the next chapter moves on to another subject, making the novel even more obscure. 

Much of the suspense in the book from there involves troubled relationships and Diana’s disappearance. It’s hard to say if the author was trying to send a message in the story since the baby that Diana had seems to bring people together. In any case, the characters drive the story without any kind of plot, making me wonder what will happen next. 

As far as the previews go, they don’t fit with the story. I’ve never watched Desperate Housewives but I’m sure that this book has no relation to it since there isn’t any fist fights with any of the women in the story. It’s not a novel with gritty nail biting suspense or a novel about gossiping between the neighbors. 

Regarding the mystery of Diana, there wasn’t much too it and I was surprised by that since the writer developed a character that should have been used towards Diana’s disappearance. If anything, the questions are answered and I found it to be very disappointing. 

Most of all, this is the kind of book where you would find that you won’t like most of the characters. The only characters that readers may like are Diana and her mother. Other than that, while the characters are powerful and fully developed, the point of view being switched and the timeline makes this book too obscure to follow. 

It’s not a great book but not a bad book either so I’ll give it three stars. 

Ron Hummer 

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