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

Matthew Batt, Author
Matthew Batt. Mariner, $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-63453-1
Reviewed on: 01/09/2012
Release date: 06/19/2012
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-63563-7
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A fixer-upper is just the thing to usher a young couple into adulthood, in this winsome memoir. Writing professor Batt and his wife, in the midst of the housing bubble, found their dream home—and when that deal fell through, settled for a Salt Lake City crack house that came complete with an eye-watering stench, tacky wood paneling, and hidden structural defects. The ensuing renovation gave the neophyte handyman an epic test of masculine resolve, a new appreciation for the aesthetics of slate flooring and poured-concrete countertops, and insight into the foundation of a successful marriage—namely, complete submission to female authority over decor. Meanwhile, Batt weathers upheavals among his extended relations—deaths, tensions, his cantankerous grandfather’s embarrassing fling with a younger gold digger—that form an alternately antic and glum commentary on the ricketiness of the home-building enterprise. Batt’s home-rehab picaresque is hilarious, engrossing, and stocked with a cast of squirrely tradesmen and manic realtors. At times the use of real estate as a metaphor for marital commitment is overdone, especially given the glibness with which he and his wife sell their castle. Still, his is a charming take on domesticity. Agent, Jim Rutman. (June 19)
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