Thursday, July 17, 2008

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

Judith Matloff has traveled to, and lived in, many dangerous places during her years as a newspaper correspondent. After countless moves, her nomadic lifestyle wasn't what she craved anymore. She, and her husband John, longed for some stability and decided to put roots down in New York. After looking in many different areas, they purchased a dilapidated brownstone in a Dominican neighborhood in West Harlem.

Matloff begins spending time at the house before closing to protect it from the squatters and drug dealers in the area, and introduces us to some wonderful and colorful characters. After moving in, Judith and John find the house is a little more run down then they had anticipated. This begins a seemingly endless parade of contractors and repairmen.
Matloff's book is a wonderful story of adapting to a foreign environment, right in your own back yard. I enjoyed the glimpse into a way of life completely removed from my own. The neighbors, and Matloff's reactions to them, provide an entertaining and quick moving story. I found myself laughing out loud more than once at the antics of the neighbors and contractors. This book will be high on my list of recommendations to other memoir lovers. 4 stars

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