Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home

Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet HomeSugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home by Matthew Batt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Mariner Books
Pub Date: June 19, 2012
ISBN: 9780547634531

Homeownership is tough, but renovating a house yourself, especially if you’re one of those wimpy grad student types? That’s just insane. I wouldn’t want to do it, but it’s so much fun to read about!

Matt and his wife, Janae, decide that they need to start doing grown-up things. They’ve bounced from one degree to another, and now they are in Salt Lake City, UT, surrounded by responsibility, domesticity and people who believe caffeine is the devil. Living in an apartment with their dog, Maggie, and cat, Skillet, just doesn’t seem right anymore. Yet another sign they should buy? Matt’s recently widowed grandpa gets sloshed one night and not only tells Matt about a remnant of his midlife crisis (aka Tonya) he has an obsessive relationship with, but also shares that he would love to help Matt and Janae buy their first house. As if Matt needed another sign: he sees a house go on the market it in a nice neighborhood and it’s dirt cheap. Of course, in the land of homeownership, you often get what you pay for and this isn’t one of those exceptions.

Armed with a vision of what the place could look like, advice and flooring installation classes, and a butt-load of beer and pizza, Matt and Janae gut the inside of what used to be the neighborhood crackhouse and turn it into a beautiful home. Along the way, Matt also comes to terms what it means to him to be a good husband, and to take pride in a job well done.

Adventures in home renovation aside, Sugarhouse is also packed with family drama, toilet humor, and (my favorite) an icy pet water rescue--yes, it’s in there.

If you’re thinking of buying your first home, this book might be too scary for you, but for anyone else, I highly recommend it.

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