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New House 5: How a Dorm Becomes a Home Paperback – April 3, 2012
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About the Author
Originally from Rochester, NY, Andy Butler now lives and works in Cincinnati, OH. He studied economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and New House 5 was inspired by Andy's experiences as a resident assistant. For more, please visit newhouse5.com.
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Looking back at my college career, I can't remember the names of any of my RAs. But I will remember Andy's name. His tone was somewhat preachy at times, but I could tell he cared about each of his residents, and just wanted the best for them. The dialogue stood out to me too -- there were a lot of "dudes" and "mans," and that seemed a bit fake, but that could just be Andy's natural way of speaking.
Sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the residents. Instead of trying to tell a story about each of the fifty-six residents on his floor, Andy focused on a few, which was a smart move. I still got mixed up because some of the names were very similar, and in that, I wish he would have chosen different names for the students. A list of students and a one sentence summary for each would be a nice addition to the book, like a dramatis personae.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Once I got into it, I wanted to keep reading, to find out what happened to each resident. I think "New House 5" would be a great read for freshmen about to start college, who may be worried about dorm life. I know I was scared about living in a dorm, because I'd never lived with anyone other than my parents, and I didn't have many friends in high school. I didn't know if I'd get along with other people, or if I would fit in.
Some of the residents of New House 5 felt the same way. That's another great thing -- chances are anyone who reads this book will be able to identify with at least one of the students. There's a good mix of personalities, from loud and obnoxious to quiet and considerate, and everything in between. In the end, all of the residents learned that there's someone always there for them, even if they don't think they have any friends.
"New House 5" is a smooth, easy read. I felt as though I had known Andy and the other students for years, thanks to the conversational style. Andy was also unflinchingly honest about some of the mistakes he made as an RA, such as not telling someone higher up when one of his residents was a danger to herself. I liked that he didn't gloss over his mistakes but admitted to them, which helped me feel even more like I knew him.
When "New House 5" came to an end, both as a book and as a floor, I was sorry to leave everyone behind.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author for review. This did not influence my review in any way.
All of the things that most college catalogs do not contain, the ins and outs of what it's like to live in a co-ed dorm.
As RA he is a confidant and counselor -like figure for the other students to come to with problems and concerns about pretty much anything.
This is a book I would recommend to High School students, those who are considering moving away to college or even Freshman's in college. Several anecdotes are inspirational and can help readers build some confidence in the fact that your never alone. There is always a good time to make new friends and that you can always find friends in places you never realized. And that no matter what you maybe feeling you are not alone and new experiences and people can be a very good thing.
The book is well-written and surprisingly easy to follow, considering the number of characters involved (more than fifty) and their complicated relationships. It is the characters themselves who make it great: their fears, their mistakes, their triumphs belong to every young adult who has lived the college life. Though the emotions and ordeals are common, the characters themselves are not generic; from the start it is clear that Butler has the greatest respect and love for them. His own personality shines through his writing, and he becomes your own personal RA and friend, calling you "dude" and "buddy" while you chill on his maroon futon. And what a story he has to tell you.
While some might criticize New House 5 for being preachy or too good to be true, the advice offered is heartfelt and the hindsight analysis helpful, especially for a reader considering taking on an RA position in the future. This is an impressive first book with the potential to reach diverse audiences.