The Yellow House: A Memoir (2019 National Book Award Winner)

December 22, 2019 - Comment

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction A New York Times Bestseller Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review Named one of the “10 Best Books of 2019” by the New York Times Book Review, Seattle Times, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Tribune, and Slate Named

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction

A New York Times Bestseller

Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review

Named one of the “10 Best Books of 2019” by the New York Times Book Review, Seattle Times, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Tribune, and Slate

Named a Best Book of 2019 by the Washington Post, NPR’s Book Concierge, NPR’s Fresh Air, the Guardian, BookPage, New York Public Library, and Shelf Awareness

Named a Best Memoir of the Decade by LitHub

A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.

In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant―the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s thirteenth and most unruly child.

A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house’s entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser-known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.

Comments

Anonymous says:

The Yellow House is so much more than a memoir. This is more than the story of a life. More than the story of a family. More than the story of the ravaged wake of hurricane Katrina. And, much more than a house itself. This is Sarah M. Broom’s powerful memoir THE YELLOW HOUSE. As you read her flowing thoughts, you will discover not only her intimate relationship with a structure that held her family and friends together but what it came to symbolize to her and her family after it was laid waste post natural disaster. Once tethered to the…

Anonymous says:

Sometimes gorgeous, sometimes slow going Sarah Broom is, or was, a journalist, and that writing style is apparent in the way she has constructed this narrative, like a house painstakingly built, from the bottom up. She goes into long and exacting detail about her family and their place in New Orleans East, to give the reader context. It’s dry going, as a way of beginning, and I’m not convinced she needed so much personal detail. But there are gorgeous moments, truly stunning writing, and at about the halfway point, when the Water…

Anonymous says:

Well written and compelling. It’s an excellent mix of family history, Katrina reporting and compelling memoir. The best book I’ve read about family and place for a long time. Has a lingering impression. The kind of book I’d reread.

Comments are disabled for this post.

The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.