I just finished this new novel and the first thing that came to my mind was, “This was bat-shit crazy.” I know, kinda harsh coming from little ole me. But it really is bizarre. So how did this crazy novel get into my hands anyhow? I read something about it somewhere and requested it from my library.
“Welcome to Maple Street a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, it’s residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusions of safety in a rapidly changing world.” This taken from GoodReads online. It’s a good way to start.
I should mention that the time frame of this novel begins in 2027. Not far into the future. But far enough for some environmental changes to already be occurring. There is a big cast of characters because the entire neighborhood is involved in one way or other. But, two families are the focus. Arlo Wilde and his wife and two children and then Rhea Schroeder and her husband and children. Arlo and his pregnant wife Gertie are not the normal everyday couple you expect to find residing on Long Island. Arlo’s body is covered in tattoo’s and track marks from his early days as a rock star and drug user. Gertie is a beautiful woman but with her background and her loud ways of dressing and sloppy housekeeping, well, they were pretty much shunned in the community until Rhea decided to befriend Gertie. All was good until one evening of spilling her life story during wine hour when she went too far. And nothing is ever the same.
And the kids. Kids can be the meanest humans on earth. There are some mean kids in this book. But there are always reasons why kids are mean. And there are plenty of reasons here.
Dark and compulsive, I read this novel in a horrifyingly quick gulp because I had to know what the heck was going to happen. I’m always on the hunt to find novels that are unique. I want well-written. I want a story that’s a runaway train. This is all here.
I know about bullying. We hear of it, unfortunately, too often. I know a family whose lives were disrupted for several years because of twin bullies in their neighborhood. The mother figure was mentally incompetent and yet prone to wild accusations and the children were allowed to run amok. Finally, all the parents in this area realized what was going on. Thank God those people moved away. But this scenario can happen at any time in any community.
Sarah Langan goes well over-the-top with these families. You can not even guess where this novel will take you. She could have named it THE MAPLE STREET MURDERS and that title would have been apt. There are wild happenings. You will root for your favorite family and then wonder if this is the right thing to do. You might even think you know where the story is going only to find you are so wrong.
Every so often a book like this comes along that is written well and oh-so compelling and I have to talk about it. This is that book. It will take you away from your troubles as you delve into the Maple Street Murders.