Amy L. Campbell's Reviews > If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley
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's review
Feb 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley, 2012, advanced-copy, blogged, ebook, non-fiction, reviewed
Read from February 09 to 12, 2012

Note: Advance Reader Copy received via Netgalley.

Although many comparison will be drawn to Bill Bryson's "At Home" (2010), I believe that Lucy Worsley's addition to our knowledge of the home and home life is superior for several reasons. To be sure, Bryson has his charms, but "At Home" was a particularly disjointed ramble, although an enjoyable one. Worsley, however, manages to stay very much on topic, and focuses less on how the introduction of new technologies and information changed the room it was introduced to, and more on how it changed the people who lived in those rooms.

There is a slight bit of information overlap between Worsley and Bryson, but much of Worsley's information is fresh and easily accessible. She focuses on four parts of the home (rather than the objects introduced): bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and kitchen. Then she further subdivides these parts into chapters focusing on particular introductions, either of new technologies, customs, foods, and/or information regarding safety, health, and/or style.

Worsley's writing is enjoyable and easy to digest and scholars and pleasure readers alike will enjoy this novel. It is focused mainly on British history and mostly on the 1600-1850's, although there is some reflection on how changes to the home affect us today, and may continue to do so. Worsley's conclusion is fairly strong, and somewhat dim and hopeful at the same time as she reflects on how climate and economic changes may return us to communal living, but that it may also be for the best as we once again learn to live, work, and exist with each other in healthier and more connected ways.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Fowler Thanks for a solid review. How it was different than "At Home" what exactly what I was wondering!

Amy L. Campbell Sarah wrote: "Thanks for a solid review. How it was different than "At Home" what exactly what I was wondering!"

Always happy to help. :)

message 3: by Libby (new) - added it

Libby ""At Home" was a particularly disjointed ramble" is exactly right! It can't quite maintain my interest (I've been reading it for a year without finishing it)

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