Saturday, June 16, 2012
Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home by Matthew Batt
When a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand.
I picked up this book because of the promise of a story about rehabbing a house and a relationship one project at a time. Unfortunately, the book just isn't really that focused on house projects which was disappointing for me. There is a lot of backstory, and a lot of details about Matt's dysfunctional family, which though interesting, didn't seem to relate at all to the story I thought I would be reading. Most of the house projects are glossed right over (apart from Matt's attempts to self-justify at Home Depot) which I found disappointing. The book is funny but the narrative uneven, and ultimately this isn't a story about a house which is why I wanted to read it. It also isn't a story about a relationship because there is a lot more here about Matt's grandfather than his wife. The book was a quick read but ultimately unsatisfying read.