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House: A Memoir Paperback – March 7, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
For Ruhlman, the old house that he & his wife buy becomes imbued with many meanings of home. Ruhlman grew-up in the nearby suburb of Shaker Heights and the house becomes a meditation on growing up in suburban Cleveland and being able to recapture some of that life as an adult and for his children. Cleveland Heights once rivaled Shaker Heights for prestige, but was never as carefully as planned a city and always had a socially and economically more diverse population. Shaker Heights is a beautiful suburb, but Cleveland Heights is somehow more comfortable and real. Much of Cleveland Heights predated zoning laws (which became established in law because of a court case in the nearby suburb of Euclid, Ohio), yet the basic layout of things has endured and has proven to be just as livable today as it was decades ago. Partly for privacy reasons, Ruhlman doesn't give too much detail about his immediate neighborhood, but in doing so, he fails to give Clevelanders and non-Clevelanders a real sense of place and context. Cleveland Heights is filled with leafy streets and an ecelctric mix of "traditional" architectural styles, with the odd modern, sometimes architecturally significant, interloper. The broad boulevards include tudors, french provincials and federal style homes. The side streets include various kinds of "colonials" including "dutch colonials", bungalows, "California" contemporaries and small scale tudors. Near the commercial strips, one finds the frame 2 and a half family wood framed "Buckeye front" houses that are unique to Cleveland.Read more ›
In a few instances Ruhlman can get a bit preachy about what it means to have a home. In some ways he invest too much in the actual physical property rather than what makes his house a home: his family, his wife, his neighbors, even his cooking. That would be the only slight drawback to an otherwise excellent read, one that has you thinking about the nature of urban development as well as laughing about the ups and downs of major renovations.
But this book was 'a miss' for me. First, there were too many times the author wandered off for pages and pages of monologues about the meaning of home, the literary aspects of home and while I am a college graduate, these bored me to no end.
The history of Cleveland itself was interesting enough, if overlong. But the two biggest disappointments to me were the fact that almost none of the renovations were done by the homeowners, save painting and minor demolition. And the details of the renovations were not given.
Secondly, from the very first page, almost, the author describes the house as 'creepy' and 'dark' and 'having a bad feeling'. They argue when inside, their daughter hates the place, and yet they STILL buy it. This made me loose respect for the author right off the bat.
This book is bound for Goodwill, as I will never read it again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was anyone distracted by the fact that he referred to his children as "A." and "J."? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jkenz
an engaging look at the meaning of home, through the experience of one couple who "trade up" to one they love but which demands a lot work.Published 7 months ago by M. Sandmaier
Micheal is one of my favorite writers and he moves you with him through his journey of house lust to a full restoration.Published 16 months ago by Gretchen
I heard the author speak about his Culinary book and read that; then I found this one, which I found very interesting, I always like to read about house renovations because I will... Read morePublished on February 9, 2013 by Nancyd
HOUSE A Memoir is the story of buying and renovating a hundred-year-old house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, but of the development of both Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, the way... Read morePublished on November 1, 2012 by Amazon Customer