Mini Review: White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf

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White Elephant was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. I love dysfunctional dramas, multiple character studies and a community setting so this one ticked all of the boxes for what I like genre-wise. So, with that being said, of course, I was heading into this one with high hopes. I was kindly sent a copy of this by Ecco in exchange for a review so here is what I thought about Langsdorf’s debut novel.

Willard Park is an idyllic community on the outskirts of Washington DC. From quaint little cottages, good schools to Lucy’s coffee shops – you get the feeling that it is the perfect suburb to want to live. But when Nick Cox takes down his neighbour Ted’s much-loved maple tree, it starts a rivalry and discord within the community. Allison, Ted’s wife, is sexually frustrated and can’t help but start to find herself becoming more and more attracted to Nick despite the upset he is causing the family. We meet Grant and Suzanne who are new to the neighbourhood – Grant, a pothead lawyer and Suzanne, a natural entrepreneur looking for her next project while looking after their son Adam.

The book has the above characters, and more, and despite some not being likeable, you couldn’t help but be invested in their story. Each character was well crafted, the writing of the book sublime and it couldn’t help but make you chuckle a few times aloud. It was slick, clever and couldn’t help but make me chuckle a few times. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars, and this is me probably being petty, was just some pacing issues but they were nothing major or anything I had a gripe with.

Overall, I clicked with this book early on and enjoyed how each character provided something different. It reminded me of The Nest meets Little Fires Everywhere with the setting of Willard Park and tense neighbours. It was stylishly executed, funny and you couldn’t help but be able to compare certain characters to those you’ve come across in your own neighbourhood. A huge thanks to Ecco Books for sending this my way.

White Elephant will be released in the UK on the 26th of March and you can preorder it here.


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