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Good Neighbors - Ryan David Jahn No where in the book does it mention Kitty Genovese (the woman who was raped, assaulted, and left to die in an alley while her neighbors watched) and the whole time I kept thinking about that amazing story. As a sociology grad student the Kitty Genovese story is widely discussed as a social psychological problem (and the idea that in an emergency it is always best to identify someone, not just ask for help but say "you in the red jacket help me").

And then, I pull up the book here on goodreads and it mentions at the very top that this is a fictional story based on Kitty Genovese. I'm not sure if that blurb came from the back of the book (reading ebooks I don't get those blurbs) or if the publisher pointed it out or if whoever created the book on goodreads did...but I'm glad to see the acknowledgement.

All of that said, it was a well written, captivating story. I loved Jahn's style of jumping from person to person during the course of the book. Each of these people should have called the police (and certainly the free rider-ish problem of assuming someone else will do it is the social psychological explanation), but mostly the reason they don't is that they are distracted by their own lives. The whole book is very Checkovian in that each of them is so self-absorbed with their own drama (all of which are fairly intense) that they simply forget about not only the dying woman but everyone else outside of their current issue.

Besides being entertaining, Jahn has some great quips about selfish human nature: "If you have thirty dollars and rent is eighty, there's no point in saving any of it. Drink till you're drunk and pay for a ride home. You might as well enjoy your trip to the bottom. It's when you've got eighty-seven dollars and the rent's eight that you need to save."

There was another quote here that I've seen before (but don't remember where): "All courageous men are afraid, he told Frank-all of them: if a man isn't afraid of something that normal men are afraid of, that doesn't make him courageous, it makes him an idiot. A courageous man is a man who feels fear but does what he has to do anyway. If you're not afraid, he told Frank, you're not being brave."

Overall, a bit grotesque (but necessarily so); compelling, and an easy page turner.