Book Review: Friends and Neighbours by Ruth Torjussen

If you are looking for a bit of joy in your life right now, I have just the book for you.

Goodreads Blurb

Life as a Marie Osmond impersonator living in Stoke can be challenging enough.

But when your best friend has died and your other friends have moved away it can suddenly get a whole lot tougher. Now heartbroken Jenny has a female shaped hole in her life which – despite the presence of many women – won’t go away. Grief has turned her into a first-class snob.

Husband Lonny preps the house for climate change and is unable to halt Jenny’s unravelling. Then gorgeous Trudi wafts into the creative writing class and brings some much-needed hope.

Feeling that this is the only way out of her depression, Jenny’s intention to befriend Trudi builds to an obsession while facing all manner of setbacks. A motley crew of unsuitable local women is encroaching while lovely Trudi remains elusive. Why is something that used to be so easy, now so hard?.

Mixing serious issues with much hilarity ‘Friends and Neighbours’ is a feel-good story for our times.

Friends and Neighbours Book Cover


Oh my did I get sucked into this book! I wasn’t blown away by the blurb but I thought I would give it a chance. I’m so glad that I did because Friends and Neighbours really made me smile.

It’s fair to say that the characters in Friends and Neighbours are the salt of the earth. Not without their flaws, of course, but I found them so realistic and relatable. There was one character more or less perfect, though, and that was Lonny. The thing with Lonny is that it wasn’t a fake perfectionism. I found him a true representation of the kind, sweet men out there that are often overlooked.

Jenny is difficult to like. She is a bit of a snob and, as Lonny puts it, she has Daily Mail views. It’s very easy to get frustrated with her, especially in how she treats new neighbour Dawn. However, Jenny’s character serves a bigger purpose: a true representation of what depression is like. Jenny’s character shows is the sad, crying side of the illness but it also accurately highlights the anger, the nastiness towards other people, and the frustration of knowing that that is now really you but struggling to overcome how depression is making you feel. Jenny also shows us that you can have an almost perfect life but also be visiting by the Black Dog.

I’m really glad I got the chance to read Friends and Neighbours. It’s a great story and one that will certainly put a smile on your face. If you would like to experience that smile, pick up your copy of the book here.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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