Book Review: The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

26046339I love this book. Loved. I read this book in a single day, and I was so caught up in the lives of Hortenisa James and Marion Agostino. These women shook me at my core. The characters were well developed, interesting and funny and they were two of the most nasty, mean spirited fierce old women I have ever encountered. I loved them.  I can’t recall having read a book before where the protagonists were elderly women, or the elderly at all in fact. Yewande Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door occupied my thoughts all of day (Sunday September 4, 2016). 

Book Summary: Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over eighty. But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

Ageism and life after retirement, death, love, family and children, and regret within the perspective of persons in their senior years is not something I have ever explored as a writer, or, was keen to read. I am not sure why I chose this particular book, I honestly cannot remember. In any case, I am glad I did. At 28, I don’t have that youthful exuberance and belief that I have all the time to do this and that, and yet, I am still far too young to completely perceive the longing, the sadness and loneliness that can come with aging.

Omotoso offers an intriguing and often funny look at two women who although the same age and living in the same middle class Cape Town suburb for decades, have had very different life experiences.

This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!


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