Author: Yewande Omotoso
My Rating: 5 Stars
Year Published: 2016
Date Read: 18/01/2018
Hortensia and Marion are next door neighbours in a charming, bougainvillea-laden Cape Town suburb. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers behind them. Both have recently been widowed. Both are in their eighties. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility pruned with zeal.
But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. Could long-held mutual loathing transform into friendship?
Love thy neighbour?
Easier said than done.
The story is centered around Hortensia James and Marion Agostino; two women who appear different on the outside, but who have quite a number of startling similarities. The first thing, other than all the mini instagram reviews I read of this book, that drew me to it was the fact that the protagonists were elderly. I recall thinking to myself 'A book about old people? what an odd demographic to write about. What are the characters going to be like? slow? unappealing ? or just plain boring?' Looking back at 2016, I'm glad I added it to my wishlist. Who would have thought almost two years later I'd be rating it 5 stars lol.
I enjoyed reading every word in this books. The way the words made me feel like I was experiencing the characters emotions : pain, joy, envy, and even anger. WOW. I found myself savouring every moment of each chapter.
Reading how the two women went through both the positive and negative seasons of their lives was such a humbling part of the book. The author had a wonderful way of taking her reader back in time, but still holding his/her attention.
The book sort of reminds you that the aged have lived life to the fullest, they have regrets, still hold grudges, still feel ashamed and once upon a time, they were as young and naive as we are. The only thing I disliked about this book was the author's detailed architectural descriptions and landscapes, but asides that, the book was marvelous.
I have so much more to say about The Woman Next Door that I can't put into words, but one thing I can say is: You! Yes you, reading this review. You need to read this book. You need to feel what I'm feeling now. Reading this was definitely a good way to start 2018 :)
You can purchase this book here or here .
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