Review of Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home by Matthew Batt
If you’ve ever purchased a home in need of TLC thinking you and your loved one would spruce it up and turn it into your private castle, then you’ll love this book. Matthew Batt’s account of his first home purchase and the subsequent trials and tribulations of trying to transform it from a crack house to a family house will leave you laughing out loud. While ripping up floors and shoring up support beams, he’s also contending with serious family woes such as illness, death and a grandfather who has decided to grab all the gusto he can muster before he heads off into the great beyond.
“I don’t mean to put this in overly martial terms–though, of course, the word “martial” is an anagram of “marital”–but I am definitely getting the impression that my opinions don’t matter in the same way hers do. I am beginning to sense that when we bought the house, I got my study, the basement, and half of the garage, and she got, well, the rest, including, but not limited to, the bedroom, the bathroom, the dining room, the living room, the kitchen, the porch, the backyard, the front yard, and all of the side yard that you can see from the street. The rest of it is mine. That space behind the air conditioner–all mine.”
Batt has just the right amount of hilarity, charm, heartache, and reflection to make this the perfect book to read while lying in a hammock, sitting on the beach, or flying with the kids to Disneyland. You’ll be cheering him on every step of the way. Townie author, Andre Dubus III, declared: “This is a sweet and deeply memorable debut by a writer who’s clearly the real thing.” Wild author, Cheryl Strayed, says: “Winning, funny, and crackling with life, Sugarhouse is a can’t-put-down chronicle of a bad house gone good and a good family gone in directions the author didn’t expect.” I agree!
Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012