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In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 6, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Social history reporting can get dull in the abstract; happily, journalist and family man Lovenheim (Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf) makes a personal project of his investigation into the disappearance of community in suburban American, learning about the residents of his suburban Rochester, N.Y. street by sleeping over at their houses (his impetus was a murder-suicide on the street that helped reveal the extent to which his neighbors remained strangers). Throughout, Lovenheim's writing is genteel and elegantly detailed, revealing much about his subjects-issues of class, relationships, likes and gripes, obsessions and everyday struggles-that would be easy to miss in broad cultural assessments. His project also exposes the surprising variety of people in a neighborhood that seems, at first glance, a homogenous group of upper-middle-class professionals. Using the sleepover as an innovative sociological lens, Lovenheim provides a smart, from-the-front-lines update on Robert Putnam's suburban-alienation expose Bowling Alone, taking a personal look at what Americans tend to lose by "going about their lives largely detached from those living around them."
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From Booklist

After a tragic murder-suicide in his neighborhood, Lovenheim feels compelled to learn if closer relationships among neighbors might have saved a woman from death. The cultural study that follows is as much about sociology as it is about simple friendship as Lovenheim wonders why people can live side-by-side and know literally nothing about each other. He engages in long conversations both with those he has known (at least casually) for years and others he has never met. A retired doctor, harried real-estate agent, workaholic consultant, pathologist, radiologist fighting cancer, dog walkers, and others allow him into their homes and, at least a little bit, their hearts. He meets families and pets and witnesses daily routines, asking repeatedly just what it is that makes a place a home and a street more than merely an address. He reaches out and finds others also searching for connection and longing for what used to be. Lovenheim advances ideas about isolation in the modern world, and why a welcoming front porch is needed now more than ever. --Colleen Mondor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399535713
  • ASIN: B0040RMEQW
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,845,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Lovenheim is a graduate of Cornell Law School, a professional mediator and author of Nolo's How to Meditate Your Dispute and Mediate Don't Litigate. He has served as legal counsel and director of program development for the Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester, NY and was the founding president of Empire Mediation and Arbitration, a private dispute resolution company.

Customer Reviews

A very likable book.
jeannecolby
They can help us to change for the better and we can help them to change for the better.
Harry S. Pearle
I wish that each of them could or would read this book.
Dawn M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mary Hollowell on April 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Author Peter Lovenheim does good deeds. He is a driving force that brings neighbors together in a typical isolating suburban community. He celebrates the jobs of his mailman and newspaper deliveryman. Lovenheim honors senior citizens and busy American families by spending time in their homes, peppering them with questions, and portraying them all in a bright light.

In an era of media violence, a book about helping one's neighbors is a reprieve. It will inspire readers to befriend strangers in their own neighborhoods. Altogether, it is a unique, refreshing, and tender book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sandra K. Rubin on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Reminds me of all the times I've walked down a street and wondered about who's in there. And they are us. Woven in Mr. Lovenheim's descriptions of his neighbors is how we, as selves and families, age and adapt to the present. It's a kindly warning: fruitful life opportunities, perhaps only to be articulated later, in someone else's musings, can be lost. It made me wonder: What do I do to know anyone well? And how do I let other people know me? It is a kind book that leaves questions, and gently encourages us towards intimacy in our own lives. I loved the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Trigueros on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our neighborhood in a sleepy Denver suburb (Arvada) is a better place because of Peter Lovenheim's amazing book "In the Neighborhood". Since a group of us read Peter's book, we had 50 neighbors come together at the park to meet and become better neighbors. Since then, we opened a neighborhood blog [...] which has had over 400 hits in just 3 months.

As Peter says, the strength of any neighboring effort is in connections. Since our first park event, we've brought meals to Jeniffer and Clancy for the birth of their new baby girl Lila, hosted Poker Nights, helped a child injured in a car accident and posted pictures of the rebuilding of a house that burned down (and a life was lost) last year.

Our neighborhood has come together in tangible ways. Our next event will be "Soup on Halloween" a progressive experience, where 4 neighbors will host "Soup Stops" for families as they walk around on Halloween.

Peter's book has been inspiring, I first read about it on Google News and have been inspired by the real life stories he tells. We think we are doing the same one person at a time. Thank you Peter for your boldness in writing on this theme that many long for but few know where to start.

David Trigueros
[...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DR. MEAMI CRAIG on September 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just read this incredible book, cover to cover, and once you do you'll find you cannot put it down either! Peter Lovenheim has done a beautiful job of writing a book about life in an upscale suburb of Rochester, NY--my own hometown. The book is written from the heart, and as Barbara Streisand herself once said so aptly, "What comes from the heart goes to the heart!" His characters come to life on the page. There's Dr. Lou Guzzetta, the retired surgeon who lost his wife of 52 years, and opens his doors to Peter for a series of overnight sleepovers to get to know his neighbors better--but it has much more depth and meaning than what I can convey in words here. There's Jamie, the wonderful woman who comes from a family of real estate magnates--a successful businesswoman and devoted young mother in her
own right--who is also highly gifted artist going through the angst of divorce. And most touchingly, there is Peter Lovenheim's description of the night in 2000 when shots rang out in his pristine neighborhood of manicured lawns where captains of industry walked their dogs in early mornings, as quiet, blue-blooded millionaires jog by in sterotypical private, and very proper silence. Turns out a respected surgeon on his street shot and killed his physician wife, and then turned the gun on himself, in front of their two young children. The author's query is compelling: in America, why is it we can connect over the internet 24/7, but not over coffee in neighbor's kitchen? Who was there for the doctor who committed murder/suicide on an ordinary weeknight, to look into his eyes and see his pain, or more importantly, to look into his heart and ask the hard questions about the way he might be hurting. Treat yourself to this new book today...but allow yourself time with it, because once you pick it up you will not be able to put this provacative page-turner down!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dawn M on August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Note: Although I'm an avid reader, I don't think that I've ever written a review of a book. Why is this case different? This book was THAT good.

On with the show...

Last night I finished reading the book "In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time," and my first thought was: If money was no object, I'd buy a copy for each and every one of my 158 neighbors in the cul-de-sac where I live. I absolutely loved this book; it moved me tremendously.

Coming to Connecticut from Montreal (Canada) was a big change for me. I was used to talking to everyone (and them responding in kind), the way of big-city living, at least in Canada. Connecticut is known to be reserved -- you mind your business, I'll mind mine. Hmmm. That wasn't bound to fit in with my chatty nature.

I connected with my neighbor right next door, and we do each other favors frequently. I connected with a gentleman who lives around the corner because we walk our dogs at the same time, and that has blossomed into he and his wife joining me and my husband for occasional dinners, whether in one of our homes or in a restaurant. My neighbor a few doors down noticed we were having our kitchen remodeled a few years ago, came over to ooh and ahhh, and we bonded over kitchen renovations, something she is now going through. And there are a few dozen with whom I have a brief conversation or just say (or wave) hello.

The other 120 or so are just faces -- if that.

I wish that each of them could or would read this book.
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