Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in That House by Meghan Daum

Meghan Daum had a serious problem when it came to real estate. Finding the perfect house, an achievement she considered to be complete personal fulfillment, consumed her life. This incessant need began during her college years and continued for more than a decade as she moved from one dwelling to the next. She changed her address as often as the rest of us might change the oil in our car. While her house fixation is troubling, Daum is able to frame her disquieting story in a captivating, amusing sort of way.

Many of us experience those times in our life when we say, "Life would be perfect if I had (fill in the blank)". Daum's particular case is extreme and that's what makes her story especially compelling. A continuous yearning to live somewhere other than her current residence became an obsession with her to the point where she could neither focus on her writing nor even remotely think about dating. Instead, she was consumed by watching HGTV, attending open houses, and scouring the Internet for MLS listings. On nothing more than a whim, Daum, at the age of 29, uprooted herself from New York City to Lincoln, Nebraska. After a few years, she relocated to Los Angeles. Up to this point she had always been a renter. But like many people during the housing bubble, she got caught up in the house buying frenzy and was determined not to miss out, even if she could barely afford the dilapidated dwellings that were selling for half a million dollars in the LA area. She eventually ended up with a small bungalow in need of an assortment of repairs.

Simply put, Daum's tale is that of a real estate addict. Her candid description of this addiction, however, provides genuine entertainment. She finds ways of connecting to the reader with her funny homeowner tales. Consider the time she moved an old mattress to the curb to be picked up within 24 hours. It just happened that Google Maps took a picture of her house during this time period and since then, almost any image viewed of her house is one with a mattress lying prominently on the front lawn.

This highly enjoyable book is suggested not only for it's humor and psuedo-psychological study, but after reading it you will feel normal and well-adjusted compared to Daum. Look for Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in That House by Meghan Daum on the VBPL Catalog. You might also take pleasure in reading, It Takes a Village Idiot by Jim Mullen. Mullen's witty anecdotes about moving from trendy, fast-paced Manhattan to a farmhouse in the Catskills should make for an easy weekend read.

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