Read date: August 18, 2018
Quindlen has woven a story of family and marriage, of race and class conflict, and of integrity and honesty. When a seemingly unprovoked act of violence intrudes in a calm, upper-class New York neighborhood, each resident on the block reacts in his or her own way. A promising plot with opportunity to touch real conflicts facing our society and lives today, Alternate Side unfortunately falls short. The characters lack realism and the novel’s stakes overall are very low, with little intensity or inspiration to really immerse oneself into life on the cozy, dead-end block or the relationships of its homeowners. The first half of the story drags, and the second is reminiscent of a watered-down Desperate Housewives. Still not unenjoyable, but not the first thing I’d recommend to a lover of contemporary fiction.