Do you like your neighbours? Are they good, wholesome people who like to get on with you? If they are, then you are lucky. Your neighbours could be Ben and Pat Guppy.
Who? If you ask that question then you have not come across “The Wonderful Demise Of Benjamin Arnold Guppy” by Gina Collia-Suzuki.
“The Wonderful Demise Of Benjamin Arnold Guppy” centres on the story of two of, what are surely, the world’s worst neighbours, The Guppys, and the misery they bestow in abundance upon a young couple who move in next door to them for no reason more than their own amusement.
When they move into their new first floor flat, Alex (the first person narrator of the story) and Roy Leah are like any other couple, looking forward to a new start, new neighbours and new beginnings. Until they meet the Guppys. Meeting Ben Guppy for the first time on their shared driveway, his instant dislike for his new neighbours is apparent not only from his off manner and lack of niceties, but from the fact his first words are to tell them what time he and his wife like to go to bed.
This is only a portent of what is to come for Alex and Roy as Ben Guppy and his equally malicious and foul wife wreak havoc on the couple who refuse, like many in the neighbourhood, to be cowed by the grumpy old pair. Time and time again the Guppys attempt to extort money from the young couple and turn their lives into living nightmares with increasingly alarming acts of verbal abuse, vandalism and the stalking of other family members.
Through all of this the Leahs continue to go about their business as well as they can, although all the while Alex is planning to murder Ben Guppy for what he and his wife have put the couple through, and many would say who could blame her.
There is a river of the blackest humour running through this story of greed, murder and wicked neighbours that plays nicely against the subject matter that is true to life in some unfortunate cases, though I think the likes of the Guppys are thankfully few and far between. The characters are developed well throughout the story, and the sympathy of any reader goes out to Alex and Roy throughout their traumatic experiences. In most cases, you want to feel sorry for someone like Ben Guppy in his final moments, but in this book that is not the case. I think his final, wonderful demise is more likely to raise a cheer than have anyone feeling sorry for him.
The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy is definitely a book I would recommend to those who like a bit of black humour and enjoy watching an obnoxious and loathsome character given his just deserts.
Highly recommended by Anthony Lund, Allbooks Review
Causes Gina Collia-Suzuki Supports
The World Wildlife Fund
Cancer Research UK