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A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City

af Drew Philp

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652310,121 (3.73)Ingen
"A young writer's sincere search (with his dog) for an authentic life--buying a ruined house in Detroit for $500, fixing it up nail by nail, and, in the process, participating in the grassroots rebirth of the city itself."--Provided by publisher.

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https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/167912700063/a-500-house-in-detroit-rebuilding-an...

It is understandable that a young man would want to set down on record such a courageous and meaningful experience as restoring an old home in one of our most ravaged and dangerous inner cities. But the every detail provided by this amateur home renovator is often too much and really not necessary. Philp’s brief flirtation as well with a visiting female architectural student was also a bit superfluous and awkward. Many attempts were made by the writer to inject his personal philosophy in order to promote an obvious agenda, a formula generally rejected by this reader when it comes to engaging in a work wholeheartedly. But because the book was seemingly about Detroit it was decided at the beginning that cover to cover it would be read. The end game resulted in the last 10% focusing intensely on the corruption of politics and corporations that proved to be the initial downfall of Detroit and now threatens to again destroy as well its emergence from the still-burning embers and ash. Sincere in its literary application, this memoir provides a heartfelt accounting of one man’s struggle and attempts for making meaning in his life more important than a culture that promotes the pursuit, at any cost, of financial gain. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 7, 2018 |
I was born across the river from Detroit. As a child we often crossed the border to shop. I watched the fireworks on the river and my male relatives loved checking out all the new cars that Detroit was producing. Driving the tunnel under the river was an adventure.
That was many years ago and as everyone knows, the boom went bust for Detroit. We've read about Detroit's problems in the news, but what about the regrowth that is happening? Or the people that never left? Drew Philp. is one of those who believes in the city and wants to part of the regrowth. His book is called A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City.

Yes, fresh out of college, he bought a $500 abandoned house in an east Detroit neighbourhood called Poletown. He knows no one, has no steady job when he arrives, no money in the bank and is white. Poletown is predominantly a black community.

What follows is an absolutely fascinating memoir. Philp details his journey to rebuild the house bit by bit, by himself, as he can afford to. I used the word community above - and that's what he finds Poletown to be. There is crime, abandoned buildings, racial tension etc - but there is so much more to this neighbourhood. There are those who have persevered, those who believe as Drew does that the neighbourhood and city can be saved. We also learn the history of the downfall of this once great city and what contributed to it. I admit to be quite surprised (and appalled) by some of the facts presented.

I love old houses and rarely pass an abandoned house without exploring. Old houses have charm, personality and history. Personally though, I cannot imagine doing what Drew did. However, I am envious of his drive and appreciate his conviction and beliefs. And as Drew's belief in his community grows, so does he personally.

Philp's words flow so easily and his narrative is such an addictive listen. The audiobook narrator reader was Jacques Roy. His voice is well modulated and easy to listen to with a nice little gravelly undertone. The matter of fact tone to his voice seems to interpret Philp's prose and story as it was meant to be. Factual, but with conviction and feeling. Listening to a book seems to draw you deeper into the narrative.

As much as I love reading fiction, real life is so much more interesting. Absolutely recommended! ( )
  Twink | May 26, 2017 |
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"A young writer's sincere search (with his dog) for an authentic life--buying a ruined house in Detroit for $500, fixing it up nail by nail, and, in the process, participating in the grassroots rebirth of the city itself."--Provided by publisher.

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