Barbara's Reviews > Homer & Langley

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
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's review
Apr 18, 2010

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Read in April, 2010

It was a pleasant diversion reading this book. Doctorow has created a fictionalized tale of the Collyer brothers, who lived their lives in solitude in a once elaborate brownstone in NY. They were found dead in 1947 and much publicity evolved from the horrifying state of their much decayed living quarters.During their lives there they had managed to accumulate mountains of things, from a Model T in their dining room, to monstrous piles of newspapers and a multitude of incredible objects. Doctorow has embellished this story with fine details of how they had acquired many items, often with much circuitous reasoning on their parts. Although they lived in the early twentieth century, Doctorow has extended their story from WW I to the Korean War, introducing historical and social features to his story.

Because I was familiar with the nature of the Collyer Brothers' story, I was able to find some credence with Doctorow's character development. Despite his ability to spin an interesting yarn around these enigmatic brothers, I felt that the book was only worth my 3 star rating.

For further information on the incredible true story of the Collyers:
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I always wonder how such folks avoid fires with all the paper around their houses!

Barbara According to this book they didn't- also, shall I say, large furry animals (with long tails), UGH!! The latter is true.

message 3: by Maria (new)

Maria I've read about these guys! Oh, I remember this!

message 4: by Barbara (last edited Apr 07, 2010 05:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Barbara I remembered it too! Doctorow took some "poetic license" but it was an interesting tale.

Barbara I have noticed that people are still discussing the Collyers. There's even a TV program somewhere about Hoarders.

message 6: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I can't watch that show. I'm not sure how things get to that point but then I suppose that's where the disease part comes in.

Barbara I hadn't planned to watch it either. I have seen the descriptions on the schedules. Some people enjoy watching the disease of the day, month, or week!

message 8: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Don't ever watch 'intervention'. It's people and their families at their lowest ebb. total voyeurism. Also, I watch a lot of the ghost shows on the biography channel and have to change the channel when they show commercials for some show where people recount violent crimes that they went through!!!! Who would watch that. Just the little snippets give me nightmares.

Barbara Most of TV, including cable has such trash. They certainly don't cater to people who have important things to think about. I remember when A&E, BBC America and the Learning Chanel had offerings suitable for reasonably intelligent adults. Frankly, that's one reason I support NPR and PBS.

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