Robin's Reviews > A Home in the Heart of the City

A Home in the Heart of the City by Kathleen Hirsch
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's review
Jan 14, 11

bookshelves: nonfiction, history, boston, jamaica-plain, sociology
Read in January, 2011

I have complicated feelings about this book. On the one hand, there's nothing quite like reading a challenging, thought-provoking book about the neighborhood I love so fiercely, especially when it's written by someone who loves it as fiercely as I do. I appreciate that the author delved into all aspects of Jamaica Plain, even the nitty-gritty ones: crime, racism, gentrification. However, I can't help but notice that she apparently mentions the race of every person she encounters who isn't white (and rarely mentions when a person is white, unless it's relevant to the story she's trying to tell), and she chooses to put her kids in the private school system without fully exploring what a privilege it is to be able to do so. That said, I appreciate what Hirsch is trying to do with this book, and I think she succeeds overall. I learned a lot from this book, which is telling. I just wish that I didn't come away from this feeling like the author might be part of the problem (gentrification, racism, classism, etc) in JP, rather than being entirely part of the solution.

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