Review of the book “We are not like them”

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OK, this is a difficult review to write. This the story (co-written by two authors who I believe one is white and the other is black) of Jen and Riley who have been friends since kindergarten.

Jen is white but Riley is black. But shattering all stereotypes (which is a good thing) Riley has a career in television and comes from a solid family background, while Jen is not well-off and marries a policeman. Riley gave money to her cash strapped friend to have IVF treatment, and now Jen is pregnant. You can guess what comes next. Jen’s husband Kevin shoots a black kid, and Riley has to report it on TV and interviews people. Black people obviously expects a black reporter to expose the fact that a white policemen shot an innocent black kid, while Jen expects her friend to tell the world that her husband is not a bad guy.
It was a fairly decent novel and will be superb material for any book clubs discussions. I can’t criticise any attempt to talk about this subject, talking is important. And certainly this book offers many starting points for any discussion.

On the other hand I feel that these issues were dealt just superficially, which is not just the book’s fault, it’s like opening a can of worms, there is so much ugliness and a book will never be enough. And it’s a novel and therefore needs an ending, some kind of closure, that we don’t have the privilege to have in real life. But we need to start somewhere, and if a book like this is successful and these issues are discussed, it’s a good thing. I was given an advanced copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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