Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home Girl

Home Girl: Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block Home Girl: Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block by Judith Matloff

Date published:  June 24, 2008
Publisher:  Random House

This is a memoir written by a foreign news correspondent who got married and decided to set down roots in Harlem with her Dutch husband. It is an interesting look into life on a crack-infested street where drug dealers traded right on their doorstep.

Perhaps I was looking more for The Money Pit when I read this book, but the slow process of restoring their home got a little tedious for me after awhile.  Granted, I can't imagine what it was like for them!  I also don't think Judith was really blindly buying this house without realizing what kind of mess she was going to have on her hands--both structurally within the house and socially on the outside.  (She is a native New Yorker and journalist after all.) But, I do think the house was a fabulous investment and she has an incredible amount of square footage for a Manhattanite, including some very interesting tenants!

I enjoyed the last half of the book the most.  The house is basically done and author has a chance put on her obviously capable reporter hat. She details how September 11th affected her life and neighborhood, how the AA 587 crash in the Bronx affected the street dealers, and how the August 14, 2003 energy blackout brought together a community. I would recommend this for those interested in the social activist side of the book (Judith attended many police-community meetings to encourage the politicians to clean up the neighborhood) as well as those interested in sociological change and dynamics.

It was really fun to watch this trailer after reading the book because you actually get to see the house and meet some of the "characters" in the book.  Do beware, there is some colorful language in the trailer as well as in the book:

Also reviewed by:
Thanks to Julie at FSB Associates for the book!

No comments: