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When No One Is Watching (2020)

av Alyssa Cole

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

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5793431,129 (3.57)10
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Visa 1-5 av 34 (nästa | visa alla)
"Don’t you care that you’re hurting people? Don’t you care that you’re ruining lives, taking from people when you already have enough for yourself?” This line from WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING really sums up what I want to ask about people who do nothing but take and "win." The book deals with a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is being gentrified, one of those terms that really becomes a "I know it when I see it" type of definition because the line between just making the place you live nicer and destroying the lives of those around you can often be a very thin one. I appreciated the level of nuance in this book, Ms. Cole deals mostly in real, fully formed characters instead of simple stereotypes (although the "lululemon" white female remains, clearly the "Karens" in the world really upset a lot of people). One of our protagonists, who is fighting the gentrification, at least has the self awareness to note "I want to have a conversation, but I’m annoyed at literally everything this perfectly nice and normal man is saying" at one point when she is applying a prejudice to someone who is not her race. That makes the story much richer. Alas, the thriller/mystery part of the story is not a strength, indeed if you ever watched Scooby Doo as a kid you pretty much know what is happening, but the story of the people works very well. It really spoke powerfully toward the insidious nature of gentrification by people who could "simply buy what they wanted, dispose of it when they were tired of it, and get a new one when the mood struck again." The type who don't want to fix the public school but instead work to create "n independent school priced just high enough to do the work of segregation for the people who will send their kids there." She has a keen eye on corporations and executives who make sure "[e]verything was about helping them cheat to get more money, to not pay employees who were owed money, to avoid taxes, and to hoard it because they didn’t ever want to spend what they had." I struggle to know when something moves from simple investment to conquest and this book help lay it out for me. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
The title of WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING promises more than the book delivers. It contains too much foul language and bitterness and way too much whining. I resented the time I spent on it. ( )
  techeditor | May 23, 2021 |
This novel is promoted as a thriller but it was not very suspenseful for me until the last third. The first 2/3rd had poor pacing while the characters were being set with details pertinent to the plot. The premise of the story is gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood. There is a look into the past regarding the history, racism, poverty, and history of this neighborhood.

The protagonist is Sydney who is trying to save her mother's home from being sold as many of her neighbors have sold their homes and left the area. She notices all the changes that have taken place and starts to investigate what's happening. She becomes friends with a neighbor, Theo, who she meets on a walking tour of the neighborhood. We soon learn that there is a system regarding housing developments that harms and afflicts minority residents. This was very disturbing to me. There was a lot of gun and racial violence during the last third of the book, also very disturbing.

There was a secondary plot with a romance between Sydney and Theo which wasn't necessary to the plot. They could have been friends so we wouldn't have had to experience the open door sex scene between them. But what was really uncomfortable to me was the use of the "F" word. It was used 4 times on the first, short, page; actually used 94 times throughout the novel, according to Kindle's count.

If I didn't know much about gentrification, I surely do now. I felt this was a good learning experience but there was not much enjoyment due to the violence and language. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | May 13, 2021 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
Enjoyable, but uneven. Social justice and outrage, coming-of-age, unreliable narrator & a dash of romance. What a mash-up. I’m not doubting the veracity of the reflection of reality that we get through Sidney’s experiences, but I was gob-smacked that people act like that. Not making the right change and stealing. Cutting off in line out of some misplaced superiority. The constant "those people" in the mouths of whites. I’d never do any of those things to anyone and I was surprised no one called out the racist behavior they were seeing. I’ve called it out on people (mostly my bigoted relatives) and so it’s not that hard to do, but I guess cowardice is a prevailing factor. Anyway...I liked it and hope she writes more stand alones along these lines. Just tighter and with less incredible endings. I just didn’t buy Sidney’s sudden shift to cold-blooded-killer. ( )
  Bookmarque | May 2, 2021 |
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Alyssa Coleprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Dalian, SusanBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The position of my white neighbor is much more difficult.... The game of keeping what one has is never so exciting as the game of getting. --Zora Neale Hurston, from "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," World Tomorrow (1928)
One is astonished in the study of history at the recurrence of the idea that evil must be forgotten, distorted, skimmed over.... The difficulty, of course, with this philosophy is that history loses its value as an incentive and example; it paints perfect men and noble nations, but it does not tell the truth. --W. E. B. Du Bois, from Black Reconstruction (1935)
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History is fucking wild.
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