The Neighbor, by Bernadette Chapman
Less Than Three Press (November 4, 2015)
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I really struggled with this book and the relationship, because I relate to Anders way too much! Like him, I am very much an introvert who prefers solitude and routine, and who would be absolutely horrified to have a boisterous, nosy neighbor invade my life. So Finch was a little too overwhelming of a character for me to read, because I just wanted to take Anders and hide away with him with the door locked!
That said, Anders and I have some pretty strong differences. The biggest one is that he has no friends, and hides his loneliness behind his routine. So when Finch invades his life, it’s a huge shock to him mentally and emotionally, but also a welcome change– even if he struggles to admit that to himself.
Once I got over how ‘loud’ Finch is, I started to enjoy him. He pushes Anders to try new things, and manipulates situations to show Anders that there’s more to living than just being alive. He arranges for Anders to pet-sit for a neighbor, signs them up for a wife-carrying contest, and pushes Anders’ fears until he understands them better.
I do really wish that Finch had been a little ‘less’ though. It seems like he just steamrolls Anders, and decides that Anders is not okay the way that he is. As an introvert who has had extroverts try to “fix” me in the past, I hated seeing Finch do that to Anders. Drawing him out of his shell and being friends with him? Yes. Trying to change who he is at his core? Not cool!
This is a short novel, and I definitely thought it was more a story about friendship than one about romance. Finch and Anders are at complete opposite ends of the social spectrum, and while Anders slowly starts to move toward the center, I felt like it was unequal since Finch never leaves his far-end extrovert tendencies.