The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

I love reading and always try to have a book on the go. This week I have been reading The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett.

the people at number 9

It’s a story that gripped me right from the start so that made it an easy read. I actually finished it in the middle of the night because I woke up about 2am and couldn’t get to sleep so decided to finish where I had left off and I didn’t go back to sleep until I had finished it! Now I think that’s a sign of a good book!

It’s essentially a satire of how life can be in the suburbs, and given that this is a life I know all too well I found it really interesting and relevant. The story is told from the point of view of Sara, a happily married woman, with 2 children living the perfect but slightly boring and unfulfilling life in the suburbs. When a new family, Lou and Gav and their four children move next door they seem different and glamorous and immediately alluring to Sara. Lou and Gav are creatives – Gav is an artist and Lou is a film producer and when Sara decides to befriend them it takes her on a long journey of jealousy and ultimately betrayal.

We all have our moments when we are jealous of our friends and neighbours. We want what they have so much that we forget that what we already have ourselves is actually quite amazing as it is. Sara finds herself seduced by Gav and Lou, envious of their style, their house, their creative passions and their parenting style. She has a crush on both of them in many ways. She wants to be stylish and alluring like Lou and she admires Gavin’s parenting and camaraderie on the school run and enjoys their little flirtations a bit too much.

She is thrilled when they return the compliment by accepting her as friends and she is initially inspired to make changes to her life that she thinks will benefit herself and her family. However, as time wears on Lou and Gav seem to be taking advantage more than they should and Sara ultimately finds herself losing a lot more than she has gained in this one friendship.

I didn’t feel that I really identified with any of the characters or even admired any of them but I certainly recognised the issues that this book raises. I really feel for Sara, who faces many of the pressures and struggles that all modern mothers face. She is trying to juggle a job around looking after her children, whilst in search of something more than a ‘job’. She would like a career she is passionate about, but it’s difficult to put yourself out there to face the likely rejection. Sara often puts herself down and doesn’t have belief in her abilities. She’s also desperately seeking that connection with someone, a lasting friendship. At the start of the novel she is friendly with several people but you sense that she really longs for that ‘close friendship’ that she will find with Lou.

I think as modern mothers we are continually comparing ourselves to others, wondering if we could do better. Sara’s worries about the school that her children go to will echo with mothers all across the country, we can all relate because we all worry that our children are getting the best education that they can. We see though that Sara can be quite critical of others too and quick to drop old relationships for new. Sara’s focus on changing their lives actually in the end damages her family, and that makes me feel really sorry for her. She was too blinded with her fascination with her new friends that she failed to see the bigger picture.

Suburbia is full of people just like the characters in this book, continually looking outwards and trying to keep up with or be better than others. I find it mentally exhausting and try not to be like it myself, but it’s hard when it almost seems to be a way of life in the modern world. This book definitely touches upon these issues and I’ll be recommending it to all of my friends because it really touched a nerve with me as it is completely socially relevant. A very interesting read!

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The People At Number 9 Review

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48 Comments

  1. adam
    September 16, 2017 / 8:14 am

    What a great thoughtful review. I felt the same; it tells us so much about inner feelings of insecurity, aspiration, envy etc.

  2. September 18, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Ooh this sounds like the kind of book Id like to read, I need to download it on my kindle for when I grab a moment!

  3. September 18, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    This sounds like a really interesting read, something that a lot of people can relate to which is always interesting when it comes to a read.

  4. September 18, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    This certainly sounds a LOT better then the book I just finished…enjoyed your review…

  5. Kayleigh Bestwick
    September 18, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    Such a great review. Once my course is over with, I’ve told myself to read more book reviews to then pick a new book to read each month. This one is now on my list!

  6. September 18, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    Someone how I feel as though as I have seen a movie made but I think the movie had assassins in it lol. I loved the review it is well written

  7. September 19, 2017 / 8:30 am

    I personally really dislike people like this… why trying to keep up with others insted being happy… I don’t understand modern sociaty and a rat race… adding this book to my read list as it sounds like a great read

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      It’s totally weird to me too, but I have friends who are exactly like this. So frustrating when they should just appreciate how great their own lives are.

  8. rhianwestbury
    September 19, 2017 / 10:12 am

    Sounds like an interesting read, and it must have been gripping enough if you finished reading it in the middle of the night x

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:48 pm

      I couldn’t sleep so thought instead of just lying there I would read this and was gripped until the end!

  9. kirstyralph11
    September 19, 2017 / 10:22 am

    It sounds like a really interesting book and certainly one I might enjoy I tend to read crime, psychological thrillers so it might be nice to change genre! X

  10. Joanna
    September 19, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    It sounds like an interesting book and I would love to read it as well. I like that the subject can relate to any of us in different ways and it’s always nice to read about experiences that we might have been through ourselves.

  11. September 19, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    It is a shame you were not able to identify with the characters but I am happy to hear that you were able to enjoy the book nevertheless. I will have to add it to my reading list x

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:45 pm

      I think I identified with parts of them, not being able to relate to them didn’t spoil my enjoyment of it at all.

  12. Emily (@amummytoo)
    September 19, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    I think I’d like this one! I do love a good satire, especially one I can relate to.

  13. September 19, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    The people at number 9 sounds interesting, I would not mind trying to read this to pass time. I’m always up for a good book.

  14. September 19, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    I can understand why you finished this book in the small hours of the morning. It sounds like a real pate turner with a lot of intrigue. Although I don’t live in the suburbs I’ve heard many real life stories that are similar to this book. Happy I don’t live in that world. Love and peace to all I say 🙂

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Suburbia is definitely a world of it’s own, in good ways and bad! I don’t love it myself, but it’s my reality!

  15. September 19, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    I need some new books to read on the way to/from work, so will look at buying this for sure!

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      I used to read loads when I commuted! I hope you enjoy it!

  16. September 20, 2017 / 8:11 am

    I love books that keep me captivated sounds like this one did with you. It’s good it had interesting issues to keep you reading although a shame you didn’t identify with the characters.

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:35 pm

      It definitely did keep me captivated. I think I identified with parts of them, but definitely not completely. It didn’t spoil it for me though.

  17. serenityyou
    September 20, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I have heard that this book is really good, but wasn’t sure what it was all about. I have added it to my to read list

    • September 20, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      I’m glad you have found out more about it! I hope you enjoy it!

  18. September 20, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    I want to read this book so much. I have heard about it on Goodreads and you have just confirmed that it is gripping right from the start and a must read. I rarely identify myself with any character and I don’t think I will with this book just like you.

  19. September 20, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    Ah, book reading – a pastime I used to enjoy before having children… I literally don’t think I’ve finished a single book since the evening before my youngest was born! x

  20. September 20, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    This sounds like something I would enjoy reading. It seems to be a story we can all relate to too. I’m going to add it to my Amazon wishlist now.

  21. September 20, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    I do love a good book and this sounds great! I think it helps to be able to identify to some aspects of the characters. Fab review!

  22. September 21, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    My OH has almost finished American Gods now, and will be looking for another book. Might have to suggest this.

    • September 22, 2017 / 9:38 am

      I haven’t heard of American Gods, I’ll have to look that one up too!

  23. trinimamabebe
    September 21, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read my down fall is falling asleep reading a book I lean towards audio books or films mainly

  24. September 24, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    My girlfriend just had her first baby and loves to read! I’ll have to tell her to check it out!

    • September 25, 2017 / 11:28 am

      Aw congratulations on the baby! I hope she gets time to read!

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