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We Are Not Like Them: A Novel por Christine…
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We Are Not Like Them: A Novel (edição 2021)

por Christine Pride (Autor), Jo Piazza (Autor)

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When Justin Dwyer is shot by the husband of Riley Wilson’s best friend, a friendship that date back to early childhood is threatened. Justin Dwyer and Riley are Black. Her friend, Jen and her law enforcement officer husband are white. Riley is a news reporter for a Philadelphia TV station and is thrust right into the thick of the story. How can Riley keep her professional approach to the story and how can she keep the friendship going with Jen? For me, though, what is most important is how can people like me possibly make a connection to Black experiences. How can Jen understand what its like to be called the names Riley is called. How can we understand what it is like to have relatives who were shot violently by whites? Can well-intentioned white people ever understand. Riley is a excellent voice for the problems and she and Jen try to resolve issues that a part of America today. Alternating between Jen’s point of view and Riley’s point of view. While issues are not resolved completely, the book shows how honest dialogue is important in confronting issues of race. ( )
  brangwinn | Oct 31, 2021 |
Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for a free copy for review.

This is a book that, after reading it, you have to sit and digest it…slowly. It is so powerful. It opens with a tragic scene that stayed in the forefront of my mind throughout the entire book.

Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of best friends Riley and Jen, this tragic story plays out while mirroring current events. Riley is a news reporter; Jen is married to a police officer. Best friends, one black, one white. Race has never been an issue for them. But now they must struggle with it as events threaten their friendship. Jen’s husband shoots an innocent black boy, and Jen is assigned to report on the incident. Two different viewpoints of the same incident. Can their friendship survive this?

I experienced a myriad of emotions as I read this book and am still mulling them over in my mind. My heart ached for both Jen and Riley. I had moments of anger and frustration. Throughout the book, I was sad that racism is so ingrained in our society, sometimes subtle and other times not subtle at all.

This is the perfect springboard to lead into a discussion of how race can divide us and why change is urgently needed and the nature of friendships. There are a lot of “take-aways” in this book. It is sure to linger in your mind. Perfect for book clubs. Hard to put down. A “must read.” ( )
  BettyTaylor56 | Oct 5, 2021 |
We Are Not Like Them is a novel with a unique presentation. The novel is told in alternating chapters, in the voices of two characters. Riley and Jen have been best friends since childhood, meeting when they were color-blind and innocent. Riley is African American, from a family of strong women who gave her a good foundation. Jen is white, the child of a unwed teenaged mother who was flighty and neglectful. When Jen walked into Riley’s mother’s day care, she discovered friendship, a family that embraced her, another home. They girls grew up and did all the typical teenage things, sharing all their teenage angst.

Riley was awarded a scholarship to university. Jen’s tax-evading mother wouldn’t fill out the FASA. Jen worked up to an office job, while Riley went into broadcast journalism. It was the beginning of a distance between them, although the cracks had already been there. For Jen was color-blind and never considered what Riley faced in a racist world, and Riley kept the hard part of her life from Jen. The girls were unable to talk about race.

Part of our friendship, of any relationship really, is the tacit agreement to allow a generous latitude for flaws and grievances.[…]It’s a paradox, loving someone precisely because you know them so well, inside and out, and at the same time nursing a small fantasy that they can be different in the specific ways you want then to be.

from We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
The authors are friends, black and white, and conceived of the novel as a way to talk about “the ways race can divide us despite our very best intentions.” Riley gives voice to how people of color experience white people’s ignorance rooted in white privilege. Jen thinks about the advantages Riley had that were denied to her, like a full scholarship, and is aware that Riley has closed off parts of her life. Riley not only has shut out Jen, but she walked away from her white boyfriend instead of talking to him about her concerns. “You can’t trust white people,” Riley’s grandmother taught. Riley can’t tell Jen or her boyfriend about her brother’s arrest, or about the racism she has endured.

I felt the honesty of these characters as they struggle to maintain their friendship under the most horrendous situation imaginable. Jen is finally pregnant after Riley loaned her the money for one more try at a successful pregnancy. Jen’s cop husband shoots and kills an innocent, unarmed, black teenager who dies. Jen knows her husband is a good man, but can Riley forgive him for murdering an innocent boy of color? Jen’s husband is filled with guilt but believes he followed protocol, trusting his new partner. Riley is reporting on the incident, interviewing the victim’s mother, trying unsuccessfully to keep her personal and professional life separate.

The authors state they “probed their blind spots and beliefs” in this novel. And in doing so, they have created a moving novel about friendship and race. I dare anyone to read it and not have their view changed.

Readers will enjoy this novel for its emotional story line and the female friendship. For book clubs, the novel will generation great discussions about race and about the nature of friendship.

I personally enjoyed the Philadelphia setting.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites at Simon & Schuster for a free copy for review. ( )
  nancyadair | Aug 24, 2021 |
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813.6000 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century

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