Without a doubt, this has to be the most underrated book of 2014. People often times ask me for book recommendations and this one usually tops the list.
The story begins with a string of home burglaries in suburb of Chicago, all focused on one street. The neighbors and community had been working hard at redeveloping the area and had begun to take pride in what once was an often avoided and dangerous place. The most shocking thing they note is that these burglaries occur during broad daylight while everyone is at work or school. Everyone except Mary McPherson who decides to skip school that day. Mary's mother, Susan, is actually a real estate agent who is trying to persuade young, middle to upper class families, that their suburb is safe and a great place to live.
Everyone begins to get suspicious of the single Cambodian family that lives on the street, mainly because they're house was relatively spared and because their children and cousins spend most of their time sitting on their house steps loitering all day. Interspersed between chapters are community blog posts from all the members declaring suspicion and hypotheses as to what has happened. The Cambodian family claims innocence but its tough to prove when everyone is out to get you.
There's also the story of the French chef who owns his own restaurant. He claims innocence by stating he was out of town but after further investigation, this was a lie. And the story of the husband and wife who struggles with mental illness and is coddled by her parents. And the story of Arthur, an aging man who is losing his sight and independence, and his relationship with Mary.
The story shifts viewpoints from chapter to chapter, eventually weaving together everyone's story and perspective as it all ties together nicely in the end. It makes us all question our own prejudices and how quick we would be to judge and point the finger. Even though we claim we aren't racist and we view all humans equal, how long does that hold in your life when crisis strikes?
When one neighbor is asked what the burglars took, he responds "What we've lost is nothing" - a statement and theme that comes up repeatedly in the book.
DON'T MISS THIS ONE.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.