My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
This is a hard book to read, but it is an important one that realistically renders the current divisions in society.
Jen is six months pregnant and is sitting at a bar waiting for her best friend Riley to show up so the pair can catch up on each other’s lives. As the two friends are chatting, Jen gets a string of urgent texts from her husband Kevin, a police officer, that instantly alarms her and causes her to gather her belongings and leave, only telling Riley that “something happened. To Kevin.”
Riley, a news reporter, learns very quickly that Kevin and his partner shot an unarmed Black teenager named Justin Dwyer. Riley is put on the case and struggles to compartmentalize between doing her job, feeling the anguish of another Black member of her community harmed by police, and balancing her now rocky friendship with Jen.
Before all this happened Riley and Jen never spoke about race, but now the subject is unavoidable, and the stark differences of their life experiences put them at odds with each other. As a Black woman, Riley feels the hurt of another Black man suffering because of lethal police brutality. Meanwhile, Jen struggles to balance between supporting her husband and dealing with the horrible knowledge of his actions. Jen frequently fails to comprehend that the problem lies in racism and too often makes it about herself.
This novel sadly plays out true-to-life. It echoes what happened in the aftermath of when Derek Chauvin and his accomplices murdered George Floyd and everyone before and after him. It is a heartbreaking story of one too many BIPOC who suffer at the hands of police brutality.
We Are Not Like Them is a brilliantly written novel. This author duo did a superb job of getting to the heart of each character. Usually I’m iffy about co-authored books, but I cannot imagine this book written any other way. It highlights the obvious need for change, for police reform.
Thank you to Atria Books/Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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