After reading Those People Next Door (I read this book as an ARC entitled Perfectly Nice Neighbors which I believe is the UK title but it’s on Amazon as TPND) I read that the author’s other books were legal thrillers which surprised me because the court case was a real low part of the book. It was so clear that something else was going on plot-wise that the reader and some of those involved didn’t know that it seemed silly and it was very slow. I literally fell asleep during this part.
I liked the idea and largely the book but I can’t help but think that the take away for a lot of people is going to be that racism is very subjective or in people’s heads or that we don’t always know the truth.
I don’t think that was the goal of the author m but I don’t think it was explicit enough that these events were all put in motion because of two “nice” neighbors who wouldn’t talk to their new neighbors about a bylaw and instead turned to petty vandalism due to their inherent racist worldview. This one act set off a bizarre chain of tragedies. No one behaved perfectly but the way the book was written it did have an air of “both sides” were in the wrong when there was definitely an inciting incident that was rooted in racism.
I don’t read reviews until after I read a book but there were some people on GoodReads who used racism in quotes a lot and since both families in the book did something wrong, heavily implied or flat out said that racism wasn’t at the heart of the story at all but rather oversensitivity and jumping to conclusions. It was almost that because the family that was the victim of the initial provocation wasn’t perfect that it negated what was at the root of why it happened to them. That’s simply not true in the book or in life.