Book Review: We Are Not Like Them

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In this month’s book review, I took a deep dive into We Are Not Like Them, a controversial and riveting story of two women, one white and one black, whose friendship is tested over a tragic event.

In the opening first lines of the book, an incident happens, that will later change the lives of the main characters in this book. Taking place in Philadelphia, the novel tells the story of Jen, a white woman, and Riley, a black woman. Two lifelong friends are soon divided by the tragic event that happens in the first chapter.

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After the brief prologue, the book takes us to the focus point of Riley and Jen at an upscale restaurant in Philly. Riley is a broadcast journalist and Jen is finally pregnant after several rounds of I.V.F. We leave the scene when Jen gets notified that something has happened to her husband. Riley is soon afterward summoned to her station to cover a huge story.

The book changes perspectives, allowing the reader to see behind the lens of Riley and Jen. We take a deep dive into their friendship and how they became so close, yet are so closed off in certain areas of their lives. While the story begs of us to dig deeper as to what will become of their friendship after this tragic event, we may find ourselves taking sides as to which one of the women is right – and which one is dead wrong.

The book takes the reader through the story of Jen, who is being protective of her husband but also suffers harassment from her community – as well as online. During her pregnancy, she becomes vulnerable and terrified as to what may become of her family. For Riley, the incident gives her a chance at a big break. She can use her connections to land an exclusive interview that would skyrocket her career.

With alternating perspectives, the reader finds that Jen and Riley manage to stay out of each other’s way for the majority of the novel. They exchange emails and messages, but there is a rift between them. Each character confronts very little about their own bond, leaving the reader to wonder, are they really best friends?

I read through this book in 48 hours. Cover to cover. It was that good. I am usually not a reader of controversial topics, such as race, but this book was well-written and delved into the struggles – and deep-rooted history of black people. It was a quick read for me and quite riveting. It’s the type of book that makes you think of other people’s perspectives in the world and how we can react better to others as human beings when someone may be going through a tough time.

If you’re looking for a compelling, eye-opening read, I urge you to read, We Are Not Like Them. You will not be disappointed.

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

Atria Books (October 5, 2021)

NoB Rating: 5/5

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