1 out of 4 stars
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Brenda and Maureen, two single mothers, meet by chance and become friends. Their daughters, Maria and Emilia also become inseparable. Everyone is happy until one day, Tyler the Disk Jockey enters the story and with him comes trouble. Things happen, hearts break, relationships end and time passes. Now, years later, we see how each one of these people is affected by the incidents of the past. Who is Tyler? What does he do? What happens when the girls are old themselves and have a family of their own?
The Neigbour at Number 18 (Reload) does have potential, and it could have been enjoyable if only the author had written it differently. What happens to Maria from an early age till the end of the book is intriguing. However, the way it was narrated, the way the characters reacted most of the times, the sequence of events, to name a few, make the story less and less appealing.
The narrator is presumably the third person omniscient. However, Hawa Crickmore's narrator insists on telling us everything instead of showing us what is happening. It might work for some authors and novels, but it doesn't work here. Besides, sometimes the narrator tells us things beforehand but then seems to forget about them altogether later. For example, earlier in the story, we are told that one of the characters will struggle with drug abuse. Then we see that character again, and she's as healthy as can be. Our omniscient narrator is also inconsistent. A baby is born and we are told that it's a "bouncing baby boy" only to find out in the following page that "we have a little girl." That's not the end of it though. On that same page, we are told once again that it's a boy. The narrator confuses the characters and their names as well. Emilia becomes Emelia while Jonathan turns into Joseph. All of this complicates the text for the reader.
The characters are not well-developed or well-depicted at all. One minute they love each other, then the next minute they're suspicious of one another and can't stand being in the same room together. They do things without any genuine reason. They aren't real or likable either.
I don't think Crickmore has picked the most appropriate title for her book. First of all, the “neigbor” in the title is wrong. Besides, many things happen in the course of this book that the one concerning the neighbor at number 18 wanes in comparison. It seems to me that the story is primarily centered and based upon what happens to Maria as a child. The incident with number 18 doesn't stand out, hence my issue with the title.
Aside from the problems I've mentioned above, an abundance of grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors make the text's readability challenging. I found more than a dozen errors in the first four pages of the book. The conversations are mostly confusing because there are rarely any correct punctuations to indicate who is saying what or when someone has stopped talking. The verb tenses are all over the place. There are also numerous typos and unnecessary capitalization all through the text.
I feel I should mention that every once in a while, the book gets weirdly and explicitly sexual. Compared to the rest of the text, it seems out of place. I also suggest the author add a trigger warning section at the beginning of her book because some of the scenes are not appropriate for all readers.
Based on everything I've stated, and considering the poorly edited text, I can only give Hawa Crickmore's The Neigbour at Number 18 (Reload) 1 out of 4 stars.
In its current state, I do not recommend it to anyone. However, if the author were to edit and improve the book, I would recommend it to whoever enjoys stories that center around families and the challenges they face during hard times.
The Neigbour At Number 18 (Reload)
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