cover image Homes and Other Black Holes

Homes and Other Black Holes

Dave Barry. Ballantine Books, $10 (109pp) ISBN 978-0-449-90274-5

The author of Babies and Other Hazards of Sex finds humor in all the assorted miseries of homeowning, from deciding which house to buy (``Take your total annual family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau . . . '') and dealing with real estate brokers (who always insist that ``there is virtually nothing, outside of the Third World, available in your Price Range'') to moving (`` `WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JENNIFER?' ''). ``Getting Some Fool to Buy Your House'' is only one of the many helpful chapters. There is a guide to mortgagesfixed-rate, variable-rate and the mortgage whose rate is based on what order the teams finish in the National League East, and so onand a section on how to move pets (crates have their drawbacks) and children (crates don't work here either). The only thing worse than dealing with contractors, maintains Barry, is doing-it-yourself, for it will cost a small fortune for someone to undo what you did. There are aspects of this book that crackle with the wit of a Woody Allen routine (``How to Get Very Deeply into Debt'') and there are parts that verge on slapstick (``Finding Somebody to Fix Your Car'') but the humor is all good and pleasantly funny. Illustrations by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning creator of ``Shoe'' are amusing accompaniments. (September)