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Book Club | The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

September 2, 2018

 

 

 

 

"I could not get enough of this book! Every free moment I had,

my eyes spent glued to the pages of The Perfect Neighbors"

 

 

Susan - Mother of 1, still pining over the loss of ex-husband Randall. Who just happened to fall in love with her new neighbor and so-called friend, Daphne. 

 

Business owner, Susan was left after so years of marriage, by her husband Randall when they came to a stalemate on having a second child. One night, Randall was out with friends when he met the oh so charming Daphne, who seemed to charm the pants off of Susan just weeks before when she moved into the neighborhood. Susan spends her nights sitting in her car in front of Daphne's house where Randall now lives, just watching the home. When one day, she is confronted with the fact the Daphne is now pregnant and her and Randall plan to get married. As gut wrenching as this is for Susan, time goes on and she sees the impact her loneliness is having on her son when he starts telling people Susan is dating his soccer coach. This is when she decides to end the pity party and put herself out there and start dating again.  

 

Gigi - Party girl, klepto, turned congressman's wife and mother of 2, living the daily routine with a moody,unruly teenager. 

 

Gigi used to be a wild party girl in college, and a kleptomaniac as a young mother. But, just recently her husband Joe has announced he's running for congressman. Gigi puts all her natural urges aside to support her husband and control her moody, unruly teenage daughter, Melanie. Going from all dark all the time, to an overnight switch to a sunny disposition. Suspicious, Gigi does some snooping to find that Melanie has a crush on her father's campagin manager, Zack, who just so happens to be 8 years her senior, and sly as fuck. Melanie discovers some hard truths about falling in love as Gigi discovers some hard truths about being a mother of a teenage girl.

 

Kellie - First a house-wife, now a real estate agent, Kellie falls head over heels for her new boss, Miller. But what happens when her husband Jason finds out?

 

Married to high school sweetheart, Jason. Kellie was a stay at home mom for years before she decided to start working again. She found herself at a real-estate firm where getting cozy with her boss, Miller, is just part of the job. It's easy enough when because she's bored at home with her mundane husband, who just stopped trying. Both married, Kellie is in denial she's doing anything wrong with Miller, because technically speaking, they haven't even shared a kiss, let alone anything else. However, her flirtation-ship begins to get out of control, from texting Miller hoping he'll meet her at girl's night out, to getting close on the dance floor, to spending Saturday's showing homes with him, to their weekly bakery meetings, to the sweet texts from Miller, Kellie begins to feel guilty. She notices a change in Jason, and she knows he knows he suspicious about her relationship with Miller. She decides to come clean that she had a crush on Miller that got a little out of hand. Terrified her marriage is over, and in every attempt to save it, she decides to quit her job and quit Miller.

 

Tessa - Cold blooded murderer just moved to one of the safest neighborhoods in America!? I can't wait to see how this pans out.

 

Tessa, an overly anxious mother is in a constant loop of hospitalizing her children, firing nanny's, and calling the police on "suspicious" men at the park. Doubtful of her mothering abilities, she struggles making decisions when her husband is away on business, as he usually is. Until one day, her son makes a comment about how his Scout's coach, Danny Briggs, had commented on his strong legs. Intrigued she asks her son  to elaborate on the comment and he explained to her that Danny had touched him. Panicking, Tessa decides to wait for her husband to get home from his business trip and confront him with this information, to confirm she's overreacting. Her husband does just that. Still suspicious, Tessa makes a little visit to Danny's house. The door is open and she invites herself in. While looking around she finds a darkroom in the basement with pictures of little boys in their underwear, namely her son. She snatches the photo and takes off to her car. As she's begins backing out of Danny's driveway, she sees Danny in her rear-view mirror. Sickened and enraged, she backs over Danny with her car without pause. She gets home, still shaken, and tells her husband what she's done. He looks at the picture, then looks under her car and leaves the home, only to return later covered in blood. 

 

Thank you Ms. Pekkanen for providing us this month's

discussion questions!

 

1. Throughout the novel, Newport Cove's residents hold their status as one of the twenty safest neighborhoods in the United States as a point of pride.Yet each of the four female narrators feels unsafe in some way, due to secrets she is holding. Do you think people need to feel emotionally safe in order to feel physically safe, and vice versa?

 

 

2. In a series of flashbacks, we observe that Tessa "tried to do everything right" after her baby Bree was born, but quickly "felt as if she was failing her daughter". How does her anxiety about the "right" way to be a mother impact her children and/or her marriage? How have you observed this pressure in your own life, or in the lives of your friends or family? If you have children, how have your beliefs about how to best raise them been affected by the opinion of "experts"?

 

 

3. Kellie initially thinks that because she ad Miller have never kissed, she is not cheating on her husband. Is "emotionally cheating" really cheating? Why or why not? How would you respond if a significant other acted as Kellie did? Have you ever been tempted to slip into emotionally infidelity, and if so, how did you deal with the situation?

 

 

4. "Facebook stalking wasn't something she was proud of". Was Susan's Facebook stalking relatable or an invasion of privacy? Is Facebook stalking a normal part of having a crush/getting over a breakup, or is it self-destructive?

 

 

5. What did you initially suspect had happened to Tessa and Harry before they moved to Newport Cove? What did you think of the ultimate revelation, and how did it affect your feelings toward these characters? Why do you think the author ended that story line the way she did?

 

 

6. Besides injecting doses of humor into the narrative, what role does the Newport Cove listerv fill? What sense of community, or of that individual characters, does it provide? Were there any messages in the listerv digests that echoed larger themes from the novel. Discuss a few of your favorite emails.

 

Join in the discussion in the comments below!

 

 

read up for July 1st, when we'll be discussing The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks.

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