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This Is Where We Live

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,557 ratings  ·  247 reviews
A novel about subprime mortgages, ruthless Hollywood economics, and the unraveling of a young marriage.

This Is Where We Live tells the story of Claudia and Jeremy, a young married couple (she’s an aspiring filmmaker, he’s an indie musician) who are on the verge of making it. Her first film was a sensation at Sundance and is about to have its theatrical release, he’s
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Spiegel & Grau
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Average rating 3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,557 ratings  ·  247 reviews

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May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
What starts as a look into how we rally when the things in our life don't work out like we hope takes a left turn into the disappointing and cliche.

Claudia hopes to be a film maker, but as her big film tanks, she looks at the dire situation of her life (the house she loves about to go into foreclosure), rallies, and takes a job as a teacher at a fancy private school. She does her best to think pragmatically about how to advance her situation, rather than succumb to it. Unfortunately for Claudia,
Lorri Steinbacher
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
I'm not so sure about this book. I'm finding it hard to care about the characters. Now that I'm finished, I know I didn't care about any of them. Marybe I'm just tired of yuppies/hipsters whining about having to grow up. The story moves, though and the book does have some appeal. Possible recommendation for people who want a few steps above chick lit.
Becca Miserlian
May 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent novel about our times. Claudia and Jeremy, caught up in the momentum of the "gimme, gimme" generation, buy a house they cannot afford only to realize once the interest rate adjusts, their nascent marriage begins to flounder. Jeremy, in possession of an original painting his now famous ex-lover Aoki gave to him, refuses to sell the half-million dollar masterpiece that could pay off their mortgage and sustain their lifestyle. Instead, Claudia takes a teaching job at a private school ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This book is about two 30 somethings, a couple, Claudia and Jeremy who are married and living in California. Claudia has written and directed a movie which did well at Sundance, but when it gets to the larger theaters it doesn't do well at all, and so she has to get a job which she does at an elite school as a film critic teacher, and while there she makes a bad decision. Jeremy is a self centered child in an adults body that is playing at being a husband and guitar player who wants to put out ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
Oh boy...again this book starts out going in one direction then goes a totally different way. I did not like nor identify with either main character and the end...well let's just say that isn't the way I would have gone. Easy enough read, but again coudln't get behind what the characters were doing throughout the book.
Well written but the main characters are so annoying. And the ending......the less said the better. Very unsatisfying. Save your money and time for a better book.
Feb 10, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly I haven't even finished the book yet, but I feel like I need to get some thoughts out. This book is so mind numbly dull that I think reading the dictionary might be more entertaining. You could go up to any Joe Schmo in the street and they could tell you that this is their life story, that the shitty economy got to them and ruined their world. That they lost their job and had to take on two others that they didn't want just to make ends meat. People don't want to read books to read about ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
The earthquake the characters experience at the beginning of this book is prescient of how their carefully structured life is about to come tumbling down. They do not see the forewarning, though, so are totally unprepared when their Hollywood dream turns rapidly into a nightmare.
Claudia, a film-maker and Jeremy, a musician are representative of the millions of real people who rushed into trying to be grown-ups (marriage, a mortgage, dream job) and lost it all because of bad decisions (interest
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a very quick read for me. It's about a mid 30s couple who are trying to follow their dreams. The wife is on a journey to become a successful director while the husband is in a band who is working to finish an album. Then real life hits and her movie bombs at the box office, and he hasn't been paying the adjustable rate mortgage (gotta love those!) because it adjusted, lol, and he was waiting for her huge deal with a movie company to pay it off. It just goes downhill from there as the ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this a higher rating than the average Goodreads reviewer, but I really liked this! Claudia is a filmmaker, Jeremy is a musician, and they're married living in LA. They bought their dream house and have an adjustable-rate mortgage. The rate adjusted, and they become close to losing their home. As they try to figure out a way to pay the higher monthly mortgage, they each have some setbacks that affect them financially and personally. Their lives kind of go into a downward spiral as they ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fun-or-frivolity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Smith
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in a couple of days, a couple of months ago, after my friend Janelle Brown (best to just put that out there) sent me a galley. If I didn't love it - which I did -- I'd just tell her "It was good" and/or avoid her for as long as possible (and not bother with a review). Janelle, as her fan base knows, is a fluid, fun, writer. Her story is about an arty couple in LA who have what's best described as "good problems" (how to be artful and make money and not drive drunk in Los ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty disappointing. The story is about a thirty-year old couple struggling to live their version of the American dream amid a down economy. It's not very exciting and is actually quite depressing for most of it. I had hoped that it would take a turn and reveal something deeper, but it mostly stayed on a predictable, superficial path. The characters are also pretty dislikeable and too stereotypical - really, a struggling film director and wannabe musician living in LA? That's ...more
This is really 2.5 stars but I am rounding up to 3 for my ranking because it was a First Reads win, and it's the least I can do.

Though the description interested me, this didn't turn out to be my kind of book. The premise of people struggling with money and a "Quarter Life Crisis" of sorts was interesting enough, but I couldn't sympathize with any of the characters (in fact, I kind of hated them), which meant it was difficult staying invested in reading.

The end of the book also gets rather
Dec 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Was extremely disappointed with this book, because I liked the author's first one (All We Ever Wanted Was Everything). I wanted to stop reading this one almost as soon as I started it. I could not get into the characters at all. I didn't like the dialogue, and the plot was soooo slow and boring. I forced myself to sit down and finish the second half of the book one evening and the only positive thing I can say is that it did get a little bit better towards the end. I still feel this book was a ...more
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it
This is the story of a young 30's couple in L.A. She's a budding director and he has had some modest success as a musician. They buy into the American dream of potentiality, possibility and following your dreams without compromise. This is exemplified when they buy a house with no money down and and a sub-prime mortgage. Her film tanks at the box office, his band breaks up, the economy goes into the toilet and the mortgage payment adjusts to an unpayable amount. An insightful look at moral ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 - the writing was good but the characters were insufferable. I had to stop reading several times because I hated them so much.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
If I was a better friend (and I've known Janelle for more than twenty years dating back to our time in San Francisco cover the Dotcom boom + bust), I'd have written this back when I first read the book. But I am not. And I didn't.

Her first book took on that very Dotcom bubble lifestyle, which seemed right to do. If you didn't live through it on the ground floor (this always sounds so weird, but I've had this discussion with a lot of folks from that time), it permeated your soul. You needed to
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Claudia and Jeremy are struggling artists trying to make it big in the entertainment industry at the same time the real estate market is imploding. Despite the young couples' best efforts, the brass ring remains elusive. They take in a boarder to help make ends meet, which turns out to be a terrible decision. Then more bad decisions are made, and before long, the couple goes from Claudia and Jeremy vs The World, to just Claudia vs Jeremy. Good plot, good set up, good execution! I thought both ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this with some reservations.I read it during a heat wave and it was entertaining enough to take my mind off the weather.I worked in film and I don't know too many people who can be true to themselves in that industry. Even if they make the film of their dreams it will still somehow be tainted by sycophants. Most people in film are prisoners to the project they usually can't turn it down because it is an unstable business and often it is a matter of survival- very little pick and choose ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This is Where We Live is a novel about the ways in which people rally -- or don't -- in the face of an unexpected change in circumstances. Claudia and Jeremy are an up-and-coming young couple in Hollywood -- she a director, he a musician. But then Claudia's movie tanks, and Jeremy's band breaks up, and their adjustable rate mortgage comes back to bite them and sends them to the brink of foreclosure. Claudia takes a job as a film teacher in a private school, while Jeremy...well, Jeremy just ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a random grab off the library shelf, I was drawn in by the cover. This is the a contemporary story about a house in LA with a crippling mortgage. But it's really about a marriage, and how two people combine their dreams to live together. It's about expectations and life. Do we love the people we love purely as they are, or do we love their potential?
This book built slowly, and I can see why a lot of people did not like it very much. I found it contemplative and clever, even if one end
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me sometime to get into the book but once I did I wanted to finish it. I enjoyed the writing and was surprised about a few happenings. It is a book about relationships and what we don't say and how that affects our lives. Sometimes what we don't say affect our behavior without us knowing it. We act in ways that our partners do not understand. This book had me thinking about my past and relationships. What would of happened and I am glad to say I am happy where I am and didn't need to ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Oh my word, there can not be two less likable characters in a book. It's essentially about a young-ish creative couple who get caught up on the housing crisis, find that being adults is not so fun, and handle it without any grace whatsoever -- I'm making it sound more appealing than it actually is. I finished it, partly because here and there things seemed to to improve, and partly because I felt somewhat obligated (why am I like this???), but there are too many other good things out there to ...more
Christina Caramel
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.
This was a seemingly effortless characterisation of a writer and musician couple and their world. Woven through with threads of the influence of their own personality and upbringing, the complexity of the tapestry that makes a relationship is revealed.
This is Where We Live Story uses the effect of the personal errors and corporate greed that was a feature leading to the Global Financial Crisis to evoke a time and place truly global and truly American in its storytelling.
Cari Noga
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Watch Me Disappear by this same author so I eagerly went to this one next. It wasn't quite as engrossing but it shows her range -- this was a novel of relationships instead of a thriller. I thought she captured the mood of the housing bust, Great Recession era in which it was set perfectly, and while I found Claudia, the protagonist, exasperating at times, I could also relate to her decisions.
Maria Santamaria
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
It was very difficult to feel any sort of hopefulness for these characters. It annoyed me to think that when the going gets tough you can just bail and take the easy way out. Whatever happened to working it through together? What’s wrong with marriage, a job, children, and not having instant gratification in one day? Suddenly these ideologies are cliches. Go figure. I was very disappointed with the ending. Really? It just depicts women, in general, as doormats.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The couple in this book were both at a crossroads in their lives - individually and as a married couple. I found this book very profound as I am also at a crossroad in my life and marriage. I ended up writing down several passages in this book to ponder. This book was a great read made all the greater by coming at a difficult period in my life. I found it to be wise.
Jayne Mckay
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this on a friend's recommendation. Living in Los Angeles, I was able to relate to the locations and even the character profiles...I think Brown is an excellent writer, but I just wasn't crazy about her characters in this book. I kind of couldn't wait to finish it and move on to her newest, which I really enjoyed.
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Welcome to my home on Goodreads.

A little about me: I'm the author of the novels PRETTY THINGS, WATCH ME DISAPPEAR, ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE. My books have been New York Times bestsellers and published in a dozen countries around the world. My books tend to be page-turners with dysfunctional family relationships at their hearts; while my first two books were more
“Maybe when you're young, you love people as much for their potential as for who they are right now. And if that's the case, what happens to love when time passes and that potential starts to shrivel and fade? Does love die with it?” 8 likes
“Real life is just a never-ending string of compromises that you make in order to survive” 7 likes
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