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Neighbors Kindle Edition
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|Length: 212 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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But I have no hesitation about labeling its quality. NEIGHBORS is a wonderful book—well written and with well-defined characters.
August "Gus" Lancer, age ~20, develops an unusual new talent: He can now communicate with animals. But has his progressive degenerative nerve disease given him this talent in compensation for his increasing inability to articulate his speech in talking with people, or is his talent a delusion of his deteriorating brain?
Despite his worries, Gus goes with the flow, letting his therapy cat persuade him first to leave his room at Haven Space nursing home to watch a cartoon show about ponies and then to leave Haven Space for trips about the neighborhood in his wheelchair. The novel details his encounters and growing friendship with crows, a squirrel, dogs, and eventually people, coming to a place of peace.
What most impressed me about this book was that the author completely understands the mental, psychological, and physical world of someone with a serious chronic condition. My face was always ready to cringe as I read, but it never did because the author did not make a single mis-step. For this reason, I suggest this as a great book to give to healthy people and able-bodied people to help them understand what life is like for the rest of us. But anyone would enjoy this book, with its powerful theme of friendship (apparently a theme of the cartoon as well?) and its example of how to live with the knowledge of death hanging over you.
When the book ended, I was sad. I wanted to continue to have adventures with Gus and his friends.
Others have included synopses of the plot of NEIGHBORS in their reviews; I will not. I would rather readers encounter this book as I did, as a series of beautiful surprises that kept me waiting breathlessly for the next...and the next. This book does defy description, and I find myself at a loss for words in writing this review. I only know this: NEIGHBORS deserves a place on the shelf reserved for those books that come to be regarded as "classics," right alongside books as unforgettable as "The Abandoned."