Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead

Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead

4.0 11
by Saralee Rosenberg

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In Mindy's yoga-obsessed, thirty-is-the-new-wife neighborhood, every day is a battle between Dunkin' Donuts, her jaws-of-life jeans, and Beth Diamond, the self-absorbed sancti-mommy next door who looks sixteen from the back. So much for sharing the chores, the stores, and the occasional mischief to rival Wisteria Lane.

It's another day, another dilemma until

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In Mindy's yoga-obsessed, thirty-is-the-new-wife neighborhood, every day is a battle between Dunkin' Donuts, her jaws-of-life jeans, and Beth Diamond, the self-absorbed sancti-mommy next door who looks sixteen from the back. So much for sharing the chores, the stores, and the occasional mischief to rival Wisteria Lane.

It's another day, another dilemma until Beth's marriage becomes fodder on Facebook. Suddenly the Ivy League blonde needs to be “friended,” and Mindy is the last mom standing. Together they take on hormones and hunger, family feuds and fidelity, and a harrowing journey that spills the truth about an unplanned pregnancy and a seventy-year-old miracle that altered their fates forever.

Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead is a hilarious, stirring romp over fences and defenses that begs the question, what did you do to deserve living next door to a crazy woman? Sometimes it's worth finding out.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

There's enough suburban-mom anxiety in Rosenberg's crackling fourth novel to fuel several ulcers: worrisome in-laws, spoiled-brat kids, a husband with a shrinking income, a newfound stepson and a gorgeous neighbor whose nastiness knows no bounds. The nonstop crises in Mindy's diary of domestic disaster would easily torpedo both credibility and patience if it weren't for this harangued housewife's edgy wit and chicken-soup-for-the-soul warmth. ("Buggin' out?" Mindy fumes at her stepson. "Oh, right. Because with three other kids, a job I hate, and a failing business, I was short of things that pissed me off.") Though hostile next-door-neighbor Beth Diamond is the presumed Darth Vader in Mindy's life, it's clear the pair have more in common than they'd like to admit, and they eventually bond and help each other through domestic troubles. If you enjoy giddy diversions, this chronicle of a long and bumpy suburban ride can be surprisingly sweet and is well worth the trip. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Through a winning blend of hip and humble humor, Rosenberg simultaneously skewers and celebrates the institution of suburban sisterhood.”

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Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead

Chapter One

Eight Years Later

"Have you seen my Costco card?" Artie brushed and spit. "I could have sworn it was in my wallet."

"It was." Mindy dried her face. "Then I confiscated it."

"I knew it!" His baby browns were on high beam. "What the hell did you do that for?"

"Because normal people who go in for batteries and a roast chicken don't walk out with six cases of Gatorade and a kayak."

"Not just Gatorade. Fierce Grape! You know the kids go crazy for that flavor."

"Fine. But a kayak?"

"It called out to me."

"Hello? I'm your wife. I can prove you once got seasick in a hot tub."

"I was on medication."

"It's not funny, Artie. We are so broke right now."

"You still shouldn't have returned it without asking."

"Hey, you bought it without asking. Besides, I had to get it out of here before you gave it a name. Remember Fluffy Cat?"

"You were just as sad as me when she ran away."

"Whatever." Mindy shrugged. "Just tell me what's so important that you have to get."

"Can't. It's a surprise."

"You want to surprise me?" She swatted him with a towel. Say to me, 'Mindy, honey, I made a big deposit. We get to keep the house for another month."

"Why do you always have to be so negative?"

"Damn! That's right. I was supposed to pop the champagne when our checks bounced."

"I told you that wasn't my fault. It was a bank error. Now can I have my card back?"

"After you tell me what you're up to."

"Okay, but you're ruining my secret.They got in these really nice sheds for the backyard and I thought, wow, perfect birthday gift for Mindy."

"A shed from Costco," Mindy repeated, "for my birthday?"

"Well, technically for both of our birthdays. You promised me one when we moved here, remember? And you're the one who is always complaining about getting all the crap out of the garage. If we had a shed, we'd have a place for the crap."

"Or . . . we could throw out all the crap, skip the shed, and buy me a new dryer."

"Then you'd accuse me of being one of those jerks who buys his wife house gifts."

"A shed isn't a house gift?"

"No, it's for the outside, and I was going to let you pick the color. C'mon. Think about it. In the winter, you wouldn't have to stand out in the freezing cold cleaning off your car."

"I thought that's why we had kids."

"I'm serious. You'll thank me for this. Plus, where else would I put the kayak?"

"Doesn't matter. I returned it."

"That's true. Fortunately, Ira found the same one at his Costco, and you know my brother. Had to brag that he saved me money 'cause the tax is less in Jersey."

"Oh my God. What don't you get, Artie? I don't want a kayak, I don't want a shed. . . ."

"Then what do you want?"

"I want what every woman wants. A massage therapist named Ivan and a closet full of boots."

"Not me." He hugged her. "I just want a shed."

Mindy shoved her cell phone under her pillow, fearing that the constant vibrations would wake the kids. She had hinted to her best friend to please stop text messaging so early in the morning, but when Nadine was bored, everyone had to feel her pain.

did u open the letter? Nadine wrote.

Mindy laughed. She knew her so well.

no 2 scared . . . u do it

y do I hafta do everything

'cause lifesabitch n ur my friend

She lay back down, careful not to land on an arm or a leg. With her luck, she'd end up in Newsday: Merrick Mom Squishes Child to Death. Failed Mediteranean Diet To Blame.

Now that the kids were getting older, she and Artie were trying to crack down on this co-sleeping habit. "C'mon guys. Give us a break. Stay in your own beds!" Only to have their pleas ignored when the eldest translated for the younger two. "They're chill. They full out love us."

So no surprise when Mindy awoke to find body parts dangling in every direction, as if this was the set of a horror flick. But who was she kidding? She felt well rested, and as every parent knew, sleep was the new sex. Besides, nothing pleased her more than pajama scent and taking attendance. All three children were here and blessedly safe.

Eleven-year-old Jamie and her Orphan Annie curls were burrowed under a pillow. A gentle nudge found six-year-old little Ricky lying at the edge of the bed. And when she groped the floor, there was thirteen-year-old Stacie, a former delight now turned premenstrual shrew.

Still, Mindy was not naive. She fretted about the proper age to break up this party, much as she'd agonized over how old the kids should be when they stopped showering with her. Thankfully her mother-in-law, Rhoda, VP General Motives, was happy to second-guess her.

"In the old days families slept together 'cause they had no choice. But you've got a four-bedroom house and the kids are big now. . . . What are you waitin' for? To get knocked unconscious from a kick in the head?"

Artie had his doubts, too. Would their kids grow up thinking orgies were normal?

Mindy drifted off. Maybe the true story of the Sherman family bed could be the inspiration for a book, plus or minus some dramatic license. The saga would begin when a nosy neighbor reported their scandalous sleeping arrangements to the child welfare authorities. Then faster than you could say "bed-in-a-bag," the community would be in an uproar. There would be the requisite death threats, the innocent kids being pummeled at recess, and naturally, the fledgling civil liberties lawyer who took the case to the Supreme Court and won!

Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead. Copyright © by Saralee Rosenberg. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Saralee Rosenberg is the author of A Little Help from Above, Claire Voyant, and Fate and Ms. Fortune. She lives on Long Island (where else?) with her husband and three children.

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