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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House » User review

Dark humor -- laughs with a serious center

  • Oct 11, 2010
Rating:
+4
This is a very enjoyable account of the author's obsession with real estate. Such an obsession is not unusual, especially among people who live in New York, California or another of the world's premium real estate markets. But there is something pathological about Meghan Daum's particular obsession. It seems driven by a fear of making serious decisions about her life.

Certainly as we age, each of us begins to realize that for every choice we make there is another choice that we close off to ourselves. That narrowing of possibility appears to be what Daum couldn't face. She keeps renting, and even buying, houses that she believes will define her and reflect her identity of choice. Unhappily, that identity continues to elude her, as she is continually seduced by visions of herself in various roles, each against the background of a mental movie set created by the place in which she lives. Should she be the homespun, self-reliant woman of the prairie or the urban sophisticate who walks for blocks in the early hours of the morning so she can "feel the city breathe?"

Daum's solution is to swing back and forth among a score of temporary homes, each one momentarily being the house that will make everything perfect. And of course no house ever does. But in the end Daum ends up pretty well situated and she's given readers plenty of laughs along the way. Her tales of eying, dreaming about and finally securing a particular place to live are generally hilarious, not to mention the machinations Daum must go through to get rid of the houses that she once saw as prizes.

I do think that the book could have been a bit shorter. After about the 30th story of getting and spending, things begin to look a bit too familiar. Overall, though, this is an amusing book that has an important message at its core and I would recommend it, especially to members of Gen X, Daum's age cohort.
Dark humor -- laughs with a serious center

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More Life Would Be Perfect If I Liv... reviews
review by . October 24, 2010
This is a very enjoyable account of the author's obsession with real estate. Such an obsession is not unusual, especially among people who live in New York, California or another of the world's premium real estate markets. But there is something pathological about Meghan Daum's particular obsession. It seems driven by a fear of making serious decisions about her life.      Certainly as we age, each of us begins to realize that for every choice we make there is another …
review by . July 21, 2010
Your enjoyment of this book will depend on the type of reader you are and what kind of story you're looking for. I quit reading about a third of the way through (unusual for me) because I had thought (after hearing the author interviewed on NPR) that the book was about house hunting. It is... a little. It's a lot about her life. I'm not saying her life isn't interesting; isn't everyone's to some degree? At any rate, it just wasn't what I was looking for, but the writing …
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Bonnie McEwan ()
Ranked #130
I own a communications consultancy in NYC called MAKE WAVES, which serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. I also hold a Visiting Lecturer position at Milano: The New School for Management & … more
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Questions for Meghan Daum on Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House

Q: In Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, you detail your lifelong obsession with real estate and your quest for a place to call home. What does "home" mean to you? How has that meaning evolved over the years?
A: Asking what "home" means is like asking what "love" means. And, as I say in the book, I have a pet peeve about people referring to houses as homes, especially if they’re talking in terms of real estate or about properties as physical, purchasable entities. "I just bought a new home," someone will say. Really? What does that mean? You bought a feeling, a mélange of smells, a history? No, you bought a house! In my mind, you buy a house but you make a home.

Q: In your book you say, "I wanted to live on another block, in another part of town, in New York, in Paris, on the moon." Why the constant desire to move around?
A: The open houses my parents took me to as a child probably were a factor. We didn’t do sports or play games or relax much on weekends, but my mother was always up for open houses and, moreover, the idea of moving to a new house. I definitely inherited my restlessness from her. I’ve also found that moving functions as something of a stimulant for me. During the process of moving out of an old place and getting settled in a new place I find I become more energetic, more excited about my surroundings and more motivated about my life trajectory. And...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0307270661
ISBN-13: 978-0307270665
Author: Meghan Daum
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Entertainment
Publisher: Knopf
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