Good Neighbor Sam

by Jack Finney
Category: "Fiction - General"
Year of Publication:1963
Date Added:04/25/2008
Date Read:06/05/2006
My Rating: 6

Reviews for Good Neighbor Sam

Review - Good Neighbor Sam

Why I read the book: I’ve read all Finney’s others and enjoyed them.

What the book was about: Sam Bissel, advertising writer, lives with his wife Min in the suburbs of San Francisco. Next door lives Janet Ebbett, a recently-divorced friend of Min’s whom Sam finds very attractive. Janet’s grandfather dies and leaves her $11 million — as long as she’s married. Her cousins, who stand to inherit the money if she doesn’t, hire a private detective to find out. Janet asks Sam to stand in as her husband. He sleeps in her guest room and tries to avoid thinking about Janet in the next room. Janet drives him to work, and without their knowledge, they get photographed by someone in Sam’s agency for an ad campaign. Then Janet’s estranged husband, Howie shows up. Since Sam is staying in Janet’s house, he has to stay with Min.

The detective is fooled, but thinks the two couples are wife-swapping. He takes pictures of the two men sneaking back and forth between the houses and offers to sell them to Sam. Sam realizes his time staying in Janet’s house is over, but decides on the final night to make a move. He does, but discovers Min in Janet’s bed. Naturally angry, she takes off — with Howie. Sam and Janet think about getting together, but they have a problem to solve first. Their pictures, as Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bissel, are all over town on billboards. They take off with a car full of paint and start defacing the billboards, but halfway through the night they realize they can’t go through with it. Sam paints a large appeal to Min to forgive him and come home. Janet does the same for Howie. It works. Min and Sam stay married. Howie and Janet get back together, but without the money.

What I liked about the book: It was clever and funny at first.

What I didn’t like about the book: It ran out of steam about when Howie showed up and ended flat. The whole bit about painting the billboards just got ludicrous.
Back to the list