An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn

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An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn

Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A gentle, sardonic love at those who are are nearest but rarely our dearest. The wit camouflages but doesn't hide the depth of knowledge behind the book. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Matador
ISBN: 978-1785892028

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You can choose your friends. You can't choose your relatives, but you can - usually - put some physical distance between you and them, but you can't choose your neighbours and once you're there it can be very expensive or even impossible to break the link. Now, I can't give you any advice on this thorny subject as it's more than thirty years since I've been in a position to have anything to complain about, but Angela Lightburn knows all there is to know. She's spent years collating all the different problems which people have with their neighbours and ways of improving the situation which don't involve a lengthy prison sentence.

Dr Lightburn's own housing history suggest that she's carefully orchestrated a reduction in the number of neighbours which she'd have - finally arriving at rural isolation. Along the way she's acquired a degree in Psychology, a doctorate in Applied Psychology and a lot of experience but even she would admit that she sometimes finds it difficult to put the theory into practice - hence (one presumes) the rural isolation. She's also collected a decent sense of humour and the ability to look wryly at those who might be our nearest but are rarely our dearest.

I've always categorised neighbours as 'good', 'bad' and 'indifferent' and been grateful when I avoided the bad, but Lightburn has discovered 58 varieties. I'm not going to detail every one of them, but some struck a particular chord from years past. I've experienced the copycat neighbour, the DIY neighbour and the bully neighbour. I've been fortunate to avoid the party-loving neighbour, had a narrow escape from the boring neighbour and I'm left with a horrible suspicion that I might not have been as aware as I might have been of the self-sufficient loner neighbour. Lightburn handily gives us a traffic light system: green are the people you want to live near you, amber means that you should beware and I probably don't need to explain what red means!

As I was reading the book (and it's glorious for dipping into when you've only got a few minutes) it struck me that although the book might be aimed at the people you live near, the classifications apply equally well to friends and the people we work with. I had quite a few light-bulb moments when a description brought up a face in my mind's eye and it gave me cause to reflect on that person: we all allow ourselves to amble into relationships which are perhaps not good for us. The book has a far bigger application that the title might suggest and it's all done with a gentle, sardonic wit.

There are quite a few extras too: nicknames for the neighbours we love to hate, a quiz to establish what sort of neighbour we are (no - I'm not going to tell you!), neighbours in the media and what your house name says about you. Like all the best books there's a decent bibliography and index.

You'll have noticed that I haven't mentioned my current neighbours: well, I'm very fortunate. Both of my immediate neighbours are of the perfect variety: we give each other plenty of space and privacy and are glad to offer help if it's needed. For me you can't do better than that. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

Some people are not very fortunate in their neighbourhood as Ghettoside by Jill Leovy will confirm.

Buy An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy An Annoyance of Neighbours: Life is Never Dull When You Have Neighbours! by Angela Lightburn at Amazon.com.


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