Author Jo Piazza teams up with veteran book editor Christine Pride in We Are Not Like Them. Told from alternating perspectives, this novel follows two women, one Black and one White, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event.
Jenny Murphy and Riley Wilson have been inseparable since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, even though their lives have taken divergent paths. Jen, who married young, finally gets pregnant after a series of unsuccessful IVF treatments, and is finally pregnant. Meanwhile, Riley, a budding television journalist, is on the cusp of becoming one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.
But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Jen feels like her world is spinning out of control. Her future, her husband’s freedom, and her lifelong friendship with Riley are all thrown into disarray.
Riley is deeply aware of the implications this tragedy will have on her community and she’s not sure how to navigate her friendship with Jen in the wake of such a catastrophic event.
This book contained some important truths about racism and social justice, but I felt like there was too much “anti-white” preaching. The book is set in 2019, but Black Lives Matter and “woke” are referenced. Although both the organization and term existed then, they weren’t common nomenclature. I highly recommend We Are Not Like Them for book clubs as it would engender spirited discussion. It was a good read, but lacked impact and was too close to today’s headlines. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of the book. The opinions expressed are my own.